PEARL HARBOR – The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier pulled into Guam for a routine, four-day port visit Sept. 21.
This marks USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) second visit to Guam since relieving the now decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) in 2008, and the first aircraft carrier visit since USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in 2011.
“Our port visit to Guam offers great liberty and an opportunity to show the people of this U.S. territory that they have no better friend than the United States Navy,” said Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, commander, Task Force 70.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will participate in numerous community service projects (COMSERV) and sporting events, and provide multiple ship tours to business and civic leaders, as well as the general public during its stay in Guam.
“Community service and partnership with host nations are vital aspects of any successful port visit,” said Capt. Ken Reynard, George Washington’s executive officer. “Careful coordination and support from the entire [George Washington] team ensures our COMSERV volunteers accomplish their mission of goodwill.”
In addition to these COMSERV projects, George Washington sport teams, including men’s and women’s soccer, rugby, men’s basketball, softball and cycling will be competing against Guam-based U.S. military teams and host nation clubs.
“These [sporting] events provide an opportunity for the crew to unwind and relax, and at the same time, we are building camaraderie with Guamanians and fellow U.S. military personnel,” said Lisa Ruhe, George Washington’s fitness coordinator.
George Washington is currently conducting its 2012 patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations, and recently completed the U.S.-joint exercise Valiant Shield 2012 (VS12) in the Guam operating area.
“Joint exercises such as VS12 allow the U.S. military the opportunity to integrate assets from different services and refine the military’s ability to present a seamless joint force that is able to respond to any contingency in a timely manner,” said Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer.
More than 25 U.S. joint forces participated in VS12 from Sept. 11-19. VS12 was the fourth exercise in this series that has occurred every two years since 2006.
George Washington departed its forward-operating location of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, Aug. 20 to continue its 2012 patrol. During the first-half of its patrol, the aircraft carrier participated in a tri-lateral exercise with the Republic of Korea (ROK) navy and Japan Maritime Self-defense Force; completed a bi-lateral exercise with the ROK navy; and conducted port visits to Busan, ROK and Hong Kong.
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region.