The day before arriving in Singapore for a port visit, Commanding Officer David A. Lausman, left, helps the oldest and youngest Sailors assigned to aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) cut a cake commemorating the Navy's 236th birthday. (U.S. Navy photo by Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Sandip K. Dhesi)

SINGAPORE (NNS) - The George Washington Carrier Strike Group, centered around nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, arrived in Singapore for a port visit, Oct. 13.

"The U.S. and the Republic of Singapore are friends and Singapore is a favorite place for our Sailors to visit," said Capt. David A. Lausman, George Washington's commanding officer. "U.S. Navy ship visits are a perfect example of our country's commitment to this region, its regional stability and economic prosperity."

The strike group has been at sea for 24 days since departing their forward-deployed operating port of Fleet Activities Yokosuka Sept. 19. In that time, the ships have patrolled more than 4,800 nautical miles of the western Pacific Ocean.

"This is our second time to Singapore in the past two years," said Lausman. "Singapore's naval forces and those of the U.S. have many shared traditions and a common background. We are always looking for opportunities to foster this ongoing professional partnership."

George Washington was joined in Singapore by guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and USS Dewey (DDG 105).

Sailors from these ships will have the opportunity to visit one of the world's most vibrant city-states while renewing friendships and experiencing the local culture. The crews will also have the opportunity to thank the people of Singapore for their hospitality by participating in eight community service projects.

"When our Sailors are out there volunteering their time, they're not just representing our ship and our navy. They're representing the United States and everything it stands for," said George Washington's command chaplain, Cmdr. Brian Haley. "While these opportunities benefit those who we are helping, we're also helping ourselves. Volunteering to help children in need or the elderly has an impact on our Sailors, and we walk away better people."

The projects undertaken during this year's port visit include volunteer opportunities at the Catholic AIDS Response Effort (CARE) which reaches out to abandoned or impoverished people with HIV/AIDS as well as their families. At CARE, Sailors will spend time cooking, cleaning and gardening with the facility's residents. Another COMSERV project available to Sailors will be the chance to visit Boys' Town; a Catholic home and boarding school where they will interact with the young children who live there.

Other strike group Sailors plan to spend their time in Singapore on one or more of the 11 different tours organized by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) coordinators. Among these tours is a "night safari" at the Singapore Zoo and a Cultures of Singapore tour that explores the four distinct cultures of Singapore: Arabian, Colonial Singaporean, Chinese and Indian.

"I like to get socially involved with the command," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman JaMichael Sanders from Hopkinsville, Ky. "I believe that MWR is the best place to do this, you have great fun and it's all organized for you."

The George Washington Carrier Strike Group is comprised of the carrier USS George Washington; Carrier Air Wing 5 which consists of Strike Fighter Squadron 27, Strike Fighter Squadron 102, Strike Fighter Squadron 115, Strike Fighter Squadron 195, Electronic Attack Squadron 136, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 115, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 Detachment 5 and Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 14; embarked Destroyer Squadron 15 (DESRON 15); the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63); guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54); USS Mustin (DDG 89); USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108); USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Dewey (DDG 105).

For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.