Brian McGouey (X74) holds his plank owner certificate from serving on USS George Washington (CVN 73) when the ship was commissioned in 1992. Photo by Ashley Cowan

A Full-Circle Experience on Sea Trials

Published June 7, 2023

For Brian McGouey (X74), participating in sea trials for USS George Washington (CVN 73) following the aircraft carrier’s refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding was a full-circle experience.

“My first sea trials experience on USS George Washington was when I first joined the Navy. My first command was here on George Washington at Newport News Shipbuilding,” he said during the ship’s most recent sea trials. “Being here now makes me feel a little nostalgic. I’m honored to be back onboard the ship for sea trials again. I saw it when it was brand new, and I’m seeing it now after it has gone through an overhaul.”

During the ship’s first sea trials in 1992, McGouey was a sailor working to ensure the fuel system was operational. He has vivid memories of tests that included heavy rolls and going in reverse to prove the newly constructed carrier’s seaworthiness.

During last month’s sea trials, McGouey was a purser for the NNS sea trials team. It was a job for which his experience serving on the ship came in handy.

“I’m here to support shipbuilders. I’m here to help them find their way around. Several of them just know the components they’re responsible for, but not necessarily the entire ship,” McGouey said.

As a member of George Washington’s crew when the aircraft carrier was commissioned, McGouey is a plank owner and was recognized when he boarded the ship. In addition to his connection to CVN 73, McGouey also served on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), built at NNS and currently in the shipyard for its RCOH, and NNS-built USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

McGouey retired from the Navy in 2010. He started his NNS career in February 2022 and is grateful for the opportunity to continue supporting the mission as a shipbuilder. “It’s a very good job. I’m enjoying myself and the crew I’m working with,” he said.

As for his first ship, McGouey said CVN 73 is “still worthy” after its recent redelivery to the Navy. “After RCOH, she’s definitely ready for the sea. She’s ready to go out and continue defending freedom,” he said.