Friday, October 03, 2008

George Washington Heads to Sea for First Time as a Part of the FDNF

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos Gomez, USS George Washington Public Affairs

USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) headed out to sea from Yokosuka, Japan, Oct. 1, for the first time as the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier to conduct training and to participate in exercises with regional naval partners.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier arrived at Yokosuka Sept. 25, after replacing USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), which has returned to the United States for decommissioning after spending the last 10 years forward-deployed to Japan.

"The hospitality of our new neighbors in Yokosuka is phenomenal. We were home for only five days, but experienced a month's worth of welcome!" said George Washington's Commanding Officer, Capt. J. R. Haley.

"Now we are at sea doing what we trained to do. As the Forward Deployed Naval Force's (FDNF) carrier, we work with our regional partners in our primary mission - maritime security and stability."

This underway is significant because it is George Washington's first operational experience in the region, and its first operations with regional naval partners.

"We obviously want to put our best foot forward while working for the first time with regional navies," said George Washington's Operations Officer, Cmdr. Anthony Calandra. "GW brings a substantial upgrade to the support of our regional alliances, and we begin building our operational reputation today."