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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

USS George Washington celebrates 30 years of service

by USS George Washington (CVN 73) Public Affairs
07 July 2022

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) man the rails as the ship enters Manila bay for a four-day port visit. George Washington, the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, is underway helping to ensure security and stability in the western Pacific Ocean.
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) man the rails as the ship enters Manila bay for a four-day port visit. George Washington, the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, is underway helping to ensure security and stability in the western Pacific Ocean.
Photo By: MC2 Carlos Gomez
VIRIN: 100903-N-NO999-062
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) celebrated 30 years of service since its commissioning July 4.

The ship was named after America's first president, who fervently believed in the necessity of a strong Navy.

Crew members, from those who served during the commissioning to those who participated in the many deployments spanning the world’s oceans, joined the celebration from near and far as they recalled their service aboard the Navy’s sixth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

“We say thank you to our crew past and present from our plank owners who first took our warship to sea, to our resilient warfighters here on George Washington today,” said Capt. Brent C. Gaut, George Washington’s commanding officer. “The years since our warship’s commissioning represent not only the days of hard work and dedication put in by all who have served on board, but also stands as a solemn marker of the joys, struggles, sweat, and at times even the tears of every crew member who has crossed the brow.”

SLIDESHOW | 3 images | 091113-N-6567V-068 An F/A-18C Hornet from the Dambusters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JDS Kongo (DDG 173) is underway in the distance. George Washington, the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, is participating in Annual Exercise, a yearly bilateral exercise with the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

In a response to a social media post encouraging plank owners to share their fondest memories from the ship, plank owner Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Kent B. Dave, who served aboard George Washington from 1991 to 1994, said his proudest moment is seeing his son serve aboard the same vessel 25 years after he did.

Plank owner Data Systems Technician 2nd Class Todd Meyer shared in his response to the post that his fondest memory from his time aboard was during the ship’s maiden deployment.

Just two years after commissioning, George Washington set out on her maiden deployment where she served as the backdrop off Portsmouth, England, for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day commemoration ceremony, before deploying to respond to rising tensions between Iraq and Kuwait in the Middle East. Between the years 1993 and 2000, the ship conducted several deployments throughout the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).

In September 2001, George Washington was deployed to New York City to provide air defense following the September 11 terrorist attacks. A piece of steel from the fallen Twin Towers remains on display in the Chiefs Mess as a solemn reminder of the ship’s contribution to the nation’s security. George Washington also had roles in the post-9/11 War in Afghanistan and the War in Iraq, participating in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

In 2008, George Washington, with Carrier Air Wing 17 (CVW-17) and Carrier Strike Group Eight embarked, departed Norfolk for its new home port of Yokosuka, Japan, to become the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to be forward-deployed. During the same trans-Pacific voyage, tragedy struck as a fire broke out aboard the ship. George Washington was redirected to San Diego following firefighting efforts at sea to undergo repairs. The ship departed San Diego in August and arrived in Yokosuka in September.

“When you look at what this ship has accomplished in its first 30 years, you have to look at each Sailor, who at every significant milestone in the ship’s history has left behind a legacy that we carry on today,” said Command Master Chief Christopher R. Zeigler. “None of the ship’s many successes would have been possible without the men and women who swore an oath to protect our nation no matter where the ship was deployed.”

Throughout 2009, George Washington went underway in the Pacific and Indian Oceans several times and participated in different operations with allied navies. In 2010, the ship conducted operations with the Republic of Korea’s navy and air force in the Sea of Japan.

Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan, George Washington left Yokosuka as a precautionary measure to ensure sustained readiness in support of Japan and to assist in disaster relief efforts. In 2013, the ship and air wing deployed to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan to expand search and rescue operations, provide medical care, and deliver supplies using its embarked helicopters.

In July 2015, George Washington participated in Talisman Sabre, an exercise that involved around 30,000 U.S. and Australian service members. Defense forces from New Zealand and Japan also took part in the exercise for the first time.

The ship then transited back to San Diego to complete the first-ever three-carrier hull swap involving 9,000 Sailors and the carriers USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 72). After departing San Diego en route to Virginia, George Washington was diverted to serve alongside the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) to provide humanitarian relief to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew.

George Washington entered dry dock at Newport News Shipbuilding in August 2017 to commence Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH), becoming the sixth Nimitz-class carrier to undergo this major mid-life milestone. After years of upgrades, refurbishments, and testing, the ship is scheduled to complete RCOH in 2023.

“Thirty years is a huge milestone in a warship's history, but for George Washington, it’s just the beginning of our next chapter,” said Gaut. “The crew onboard George Washington today look forward to completing our shipyard period and getting our warship back out to sea to protect and serve this great nation.”


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