PACIFIC OCEAN (June 23, 2011) - With the Navy’s only fulltime forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN73) now back on patrol in the western Pacific Ocean, the ship’s crew is hard at work day and night. But during their brief moments of free time, many are finding opportunities for some fun thanks to the ship’s Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team.

“We provide recreational services to the ship’s crew,” said Rebekah McKoy, the ship’s Fun Boss. “We set up nightly events and offer a variety of activities for the crew to unwind while they’re off.”

From Madden football tournaments to Friday night karaoke on the mess decks, MWR has something for everybody said McKoy.

“We host GW’s Cinema at Sea where we pop popcorn and show a movie for the crew to watch every Saturday night,” said McKoy. “We’re trying to start up a singing contest that we’re calling GW Idol. We’re still trying to work that one out.”

Whenever the ship makes port calls, MWR works with the local hotels and tourist attractions in the area to offer Sailors these services at a discounted price.

“Last year when we went to Thailand, I took an elephant riding tour and it was pretty awesome,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Monique Isaac who works in the MWR booth on the mess decks. “I can’t wait to see what they have lined up for this year’s port visits.”

Every week, MWR sends out an e-mail informing the crew of that week’s events. The goal isn’t just to keep Sailor’s entertained, MWR events help make the time at sea move by a little faster.

“With some of the events they offer, it makes the time fly by and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like we’re underway,” said Isaac. “It kind of gives the crew something to look forward to.”

“I like to think that we give people a sense of reality,” said McKoy. “For someone playing poker on the mess decks, that could give them the same feeling as playing poker back home with their friends and family.”

McKoy is open to all ideas for family-friendly entertainment aboard George Washington and has placed a suggestion box next to her MWR booth; from playing Risk on the flight deck to putt-putt and bowling on the mess decks, she’s heard it all.

“Just let us know your idea and if it’s doable, we’ll make it a reality, said McKoy.”

George Washington returned to patrolling the waters of the Western Pacific ocean on June 12, 2011, departing her forward operating base of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka. Onboard are more than 5,500 Sailors from George Washington and CAG-5. George Washington’s mission is to ensure security and stability in the Western Pacific and to be in position to work with our allies and regional partners to respond to any crisis across the operational spectrum as directed.