By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro
WATERS NEAR OKINAWA – The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted Japanese guests for an overnight embark, June 8-9.
The distinguished visitors joined the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier during its patrol of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to experience shipboard life and gain a general orientation of the ship’s mission in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
“It’s rare to have overnight guests on board George Washington during its carrier operations at sea,” said Capt. Dennis Mikeska, a commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) escort. “They’re able to see how technical and complex operations are on a forward-deployed aircraft carrier and gain an appreciation for what goes into keeping this region of the world safe.”
Mr. Yoshiyuki Kasai, chairman emeritus, Central Japan Railway Company, was among the seven guests who spent the night aboard George Washington.
“We spent a pleasant night aboard the ship and were able to glimpse into life aboard an aircraft carrier,” said Kasai. “I’ve always felt the relationship between Japan and the U.S. is important in order to maintain peace and stability in this region of the world. Having the opportunity to visit George Washington and see first-hand the day-to-day operations really reaffirmed those beliefs.
The guests toured the ship’s medical facilities, mess decks, navigation bridge, and even had the opportunity to watch day and night flight operations during the visit.
“It was extremely impressive to witness aircraft launch and recovery operations,” said Kasai. “The pilots demonstrated highly advanced skills despite the rather difficult conditions.”
According to Mikeska, distinguished visitor embarks help guests understand operations between partner nations to develop interoperability and foster relations.
“It’s important for the U.S. and Japan to continue to work together not only in a military sense, but an industrial, political and diplomatic sense,” said Mikeska. “It’s about showing our allies that we are ready to defend Japan if necessary and protect our combined interests in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.”