In this file photo, Culinary Specialist Seaman Austin Franklin performs maintenance on a quick-acting watertight door in a hazardous material storeroom aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Recruit Spencer Rhoades)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) was announced as the winner of the 2012 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Afloat Safety Award for U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers April 1.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to fleet readiness, increased morale, efficiency and economical use of resources through safety. In addition to an outstanding safety record, ships selected this year had an aggressive safety program that actively contributed to increased mishap prevention, including comprehensive and professional internal safety reporting.

“We approached [safety] as a team effort; we used departmental safety petty officers and held them accountable to provide us feedback essential to safety management,” said Lt. Cmdr. Maggie Parks, George Washington’s industrial hygiene officer. “Safety petty officers temporarily assigned to our department during the ship’s restricted availability (SRA) period brought their own expertise to the table based on their personal knowledge of the ship.”

The ship’s crew was able to effectively develop strategies to ensure a safe working environment by combining departmental officers of material maintenance management (3M), damage control and industrial hygiene as well as coordination with Ship’s Repair Facility (SRF), and Pugent Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS).

"It is quite a task to meet the demands of safety aboard any U.S. Navy vessel, let alone a forward-deployed aircraft carrier with hundreds of equipment spaces and machinery which can make for a hazardous environment," said Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer. "We greatly appreciate the combined efforts of all officers, chief petty officers and junior enlisted to ensure the ship is mission ready in a safe manner, which in turn is reflected on the command receiving this award."

George Washington will also be awarded the Navy League’s Admiral Vern Clark Safety Award April 11.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.