USS George Washington Hosts Spring Festival


The crew of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) welcomed aboard more 11,000 guests during Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka’s annual Spring Festival, March 25.

This is a great opportunity for us to thank the Japanese for their kindness and friendship while George Washington is forward deployed in the western Pacific,” said Capt. David A. Lausman, commanding officer of George Washington.

Guests were able to tour the ship’s hanger bay and participate in interactive displays coordinated by George Washington’s Security, Weapons, Media, Medical, Operations, Engineering and Air departments. Many tried on equipment, witnessed a mock surgery, manned a 50-caliber machine gun, had their photo taken with a Sailor and rode an aircraft elevator to and from the flight deck.

“The reaction to the displays has been very positive,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Marlon Bell from East St. Louis, Ill. “They’re very appreciative.”

“When I first set up we had people coming up right away and it was all smiles. It’s a lot of work to put these displays together, but it’s worth it when we get those smiles,” said Bell.

One of the largest crowds formed in front of the Security department exhibit where guests could dress in tactical gear while others had the opportunity to swing a practice baton at a patrolman wearing the “Red Man” protective gear.

“I’ve had people of all ages coming up,” said Airman Eric McFarland from Houston. “The Japanese people are very polite. They didn’t want to hurt him, but once they realized how safe we are in our gear, they had a lot of fun.”

On the flight deck, visitors saw where George Washington launches and recovers more than 100 aircraft daily while underway, but just getting to and from the flight deck proved to be the most exciting opportunity as cheers could be heard across the base with each elevator run.

Our Sailors go up and down on the aircraft elevators all the time, but seeing this through the eyes of our guests really reminds us how exciting a job aboard an aircraft carrier can be,” said Lausman.

On the pier, dozens of volunteers from the ship’s Chief Mess, First Class Petty Officers Association, CSAD Chapter and Family Readiness Group sold George Washington merchandise, hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks, raising thousands of dollars that benefits the crew’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund.

George Washington returned to her forward-operating port of Yokosuka, Japan November 22 after navigating more than 50,000 nautical miles across the Western Pacific during her summer and fall patrols. While underway, the crew operated with more than a dozen different nations helping to ensure security and stability across the region.

Naval Today Staff , March 27, 2012;