Japanese visitors aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) observe an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 perform a low-altitude pass of the aircraft carrier in the Philippine Sea, Aug. 20. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Seaman Beverly Lesonik)

PHILIPPINE SEA - The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted Japanese guests while at sea, Aug. 20.

The distinguished visitors were given a general orientation of an underway U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to better understand George Washington's strategic mission in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

"I feel so honored to receive a tour on an aircraft carrier," said Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Capt. Yoshihiro Murakami, Commander, Fleet Air Wing Four chief of staff. "I am extremely impressed with the 18 to 22 year-old Sailors who work hard to support the defense of Japan."

Capt. Steven Wieman, commanding officer, Naval Air Facility Atsugi (NAFA); Lt. Kazuaki Abe, Commander, Fleet Air Wing Four liaison officer; and Mr. Nobutsugi Nakamura, Zama defence office chief, were also among the 16 distinguished visitors who spent the day aboard George Washington.

"We are guests in Japan," said Wieman. "Anytime we have an opportunity to educate them about our mission, role and purpose helps them understand us and gives them a better opportunity to help us. It gives them ownership and pride that they help in improving our alliance."

George Washington and its embarked airwing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, departed Jun. 26 to begin its 2013 patrol and participated in exercise Talisman Saber 13 with Australian Defence Forces in July.

"It is great to be back operating near Japan with our partners and host nation," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, George Washington's executive officer. "This tour was a great opportunity to show our allies what our Sailors do. That's important."

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.