BRISBANE, Australia - The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, arrived to Brisbane July 29 for its first port visit of its 2013 patrol.
George Washington departed its forward-operating location of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, June 26, and most recently participated in exercise Talisman Saber (TS) 2013.
The TS series is a biennial training activity aimed at improving Australian and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability.
"Talisman Saber demonstrated the seamless interoperability of the United States and Australia," said Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer. "Australia is one of our most valuable and oldest allies in the western Pacific, and this friendship is an anchor of peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."
George Washington and CVW 5 Sailors will participate with their Australian hosts in numerous friendship and goodwill activities.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is scheduled to conduct 10 community service projects co-arranged by the U.S. Consulate in Sydney and the ship's Command Religious Ministries Department.
"One of the greatest impacts our sailors and airmen make is the privilege of participating in a community service project that benefits not only the host nation, but the service members who are volunteering their time and hard effort," said Lt. Glen Kitzman, a chaplain aboard George Washington. "Great leaders serve; it's a fact. As a chaplain, it's a true joy to work alongside some of the finest men and women of the George Washington as they give back to humanity."
Several of George Washington's intramural sports teams, including soccer, rugby, basketball and softball are scheduled to compete against local clubs in friendly exhibitions.
"I've played for the command's soccer team my entire time here aboard George Washington, and thus far this is the strongest our team has ever been," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Daniel Franco. "I'm honored to play alongside every one of my teammates. This match against an Australian team means the world to our team; it's going to be a great experience and an amazing match."
The ship's more than 5,000 crew and embarked staffs will also have the opportunity to get some well-deserved liberty to experience the Australian culture.
"I plan on seeing the crystal-clear waters of Australia, and have early morning and late evening beach runs as well," said Aerographer's Mate 3rd Class Takeo Wadriski. "I definitely want to see some koalas, but most importantly, I'm looking forward to relaxing and being on land for a little while."
George Washington and CVW 5 provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.