By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik, USS George Washington (CVN 73)
WATERS SOUTH OF JAPAN – Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted guests from Iwakuni, Japan, Nov. 17.
Rear Adm. John Alexander, Commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet and Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer hosted twenty-two visitors who toured the ship and were provided a general orientation of how a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier operates while underway.
“I was very surprised and impressed by the amount of aircraft that can operate in such a limited area,” said Rear Adm. Isao Ooseto, Commander, Fleet Air Wing 31. “I want to thank [everyone] for extending the invitation because I believe these tours help increase the cooperation between Japan and the United States.”
Guests were divided into two groups and were guided through George Washington’s hangar bay, Air Operations Center, Combat Direction Center, Flight Deck Control, Flag Bridge, Navigation Bridge and ship’s museum. Visitors also experienced flight operations from the ship’s flight deck, seeing firsthand how George Washington’s flight deck crew functions together to launch and recover aircraft.
“Our guests were able to see things that help George Washington function,” said Fenton. “We have a lot of great technology they were able to see today, but most importantly they saw how none of it can operate without the work of the 5,500 Sailors aboard the ship.”
The visitors were given a close up view of how the ship’s embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, operates in preparation for its transition from Atsugi, Japan to Iwakuni in the next two to three years.
According to Major Gen. Takehiro Morita, Commander, Western Aircraft Control and Warning Wing, it is important for him to see how George Washington and CVW-5 functions in order to better understand the coordination it is going to take to translocate the air wing.
“I really appreciate everyone who came aboard the ship today,” said Alexander. “The close coordination with our Japanese partners is critical to our collective success.”