Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert speaks Monday with Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. Navy photo

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert this week visited three aircraft carriers docked at Coronado during an historic “hull swap” and joined the crews for a barbecue.

The USS Carl Vinson is beginning a planned six-month maintenance period, while the USS George Washington and USS Ronald Reagan are conducting a crew and equipment swap.

Once the swap is complete, the Washington will head to Norfolk, where it will prepare for its mid-life nuclear refueling and complete a complex overhaul.

The Reagan will head to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to serve as the Navy’s forward-deployed carrier based in Yokosuka, Japan.

While Greenert was in San Diego, members of the Cooks From the Valley organization treated sailors from the three supercarriers to more than 12,000 New York steakson Monday.

“People have asked me many times what my favorite thing was about being CNO, and the best parts are days like today,” said Greenert. “It’s so great to look out there into the crowd seeing everyone’s eyes. Seeing ball caps. Seeing backpacks; all the new chief selectees. And actually getting out there to meet all of you.

“It amazes me how this nation of ours can turn over generation after generation of people from all different backgrounds who are all united for the greater good of our country. It’s the real deal. This is all real business, and you are the tip of the spear.”

Cooks From the Valley, established in 2002, is an organization comprised of philanthropic professionals who purchase high-grade steak out-of-pocket, travel to wherever military personnel are located, fire up the grill and prepare meals for service members free of charge.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.