$6B Navy Carrier Has Lousy Toilets Vaccum commodes often don't work By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Nov 15, 2011 7:26 PM CST 29 comments Comments This Navy photo shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) departing Norfolk for its maiden deployment in May. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, MC3 Nicholas Hall) (Newser) – The Navy Times has a tale of serious toilet woe aboard the USS George HW Bush aircraft carrier, which is currently deployed to the Persian Gulf. The $6.2 billion carrier has 130 bathrooms with 423 commodes, but many of those commodes are frequently on the fritz at any one time. Some choice details: At least twice since the ship deployed in May, all 423 commodes were out of service simultaneously. Most times, it's just sections that go down. Sailors blame the ship's vacuum system; the Navy blames sailors flushing everything from clothes to hygiene products. Sailors say they sometimes have to walk an hour to find a bathroom, or, failing that, get creative; women sometimes have to commandeer a men's room and post a sentry at the door. The Navy says it has spent 10,000 man hours fixing the toilet system on this deployment, about 25 service calls per week. Sailors say they're limiting food and liquids and developing health problems such as urinary tract infections from trying to hold it too long. One poor guy was formally reprimanded for "urinating on a sponson." (Yeah, we had to look it up, too; it's something mounted on the side of a ship to help with stability or maybe hold up a lifeboat. Kind of disappointing, actually.) The story came to light because a sailor's mom blogged about it here.