By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Aug. 8, 2014) – George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) returned to its forward-operating location at Fleet Activities Yokosuka Aug. 8, after completing a three-month patrol of the 7th Fleet area of operations.
GWCSG conducted four goodwill port visits and participated in a tri-lateral naval field training exercise with Indian navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force during Malabar 2014.
“I am extremely proud of everything that our Sailors have accomplished over the past few months,” said Capt. Greg Fenton, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) commanding officer. “We demonstrated how we can take on whatever assignment we are given and do it safely to accomplish the task at hand.”
The strike group conducted goodwill port visits to Hong Kong, Singapore, Republic of Korea and Sasebo, Japan where Sailors interacted with foreign nationals through sporting events, cultural Morale, Welfare and Recreation events and community relations (COMREL) projects.
“Volunteering really allows us to connect with the locals and gives us a rare interaction with the community,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Desmond Stone, from Roanoke, Va., during a COMREL at the Hong Chi Association for the intellectually handicapped in Hong Kong.
George Washington successfully completed Core I and II training assessments to evaluate the carrier’s watch standers in requisite warfare areas of damage control, navigation and medical response.
“It is due to Sailors’ direct efforts during Core I and II that put us in good competition for another Battle ‘E’ffectiveness award,” said Fenton. “We still have more hard work ahead of us, but I have no doubt in my mind that we will be successful in that as well.”
George Washington also hosted distinguished visitors, conducted numerous replenishments-at-sea and had a chance to relax to celebrate Independence Day and the ship’s birthday with a steel beach picnic on the flight deck.
GWCSG ships finished up the patrol by hosting friends and family members for a Tiger Cruise where they had a chance to watch a sea and air power demonstration, damage control olympics and participate in ship tours to experience at-sea life aboard a Navy warship.
“I was incredibly excited to join George Washington and the time I spent with my nephew [Quartermaster 2nd Class William Gillaspie],” said Bob Gillaspie, from Las Vegas. “I loved being able to observe flight operations and I my time spent aboard was an unforgettable experience.”
GWCSG ships will now enter a maintenance availability to increase their material readiness and prepare for another upcoming patrol.
Ships currently in the GWCSG include the flagship, George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Stethem (DDG 63).