USS George Washington Departs Brisbane
The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) departed Brisbane, Australia following a five-day, goodwill port visit, Aug. 3.
The city of Brisbane welcomed more than 5,000 George Washington Sailors into its shops, restaurants, schools and parks to experience Australian culture and to foster relations between the U.S. and a longstanding ally in the western Pacific.
“We just came off a great exercise with the Australian Navy — Talisman Saber 2013,” said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. “It is the largest exercise the U.S. Navy is doing this year. In many ways, the relationship between the U.S. Navy and the Australian Navy is a linchpin, so the opportunity to come down here [to Brisbane] is exciting.”
George Washington’s first visit to Brisbane was kicked-off with a welcome reception aboard the ship that welcomed more than 400 Australian and U.S. dignitaries to recognize the continued partnership between the U.S. and Australia.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the people of Brisbane to enjoy the hospitality of the U.S. Navy and to build [upon] the bonds that exist between Queensland and the United States,” said Jeffrey Seeney, Queensland’s deputy premier.
The ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department provided 55 tours and fun events to help the crew, their friends and family experience as much of Australia as possible while in port.
“This was a great port call for the Sailors,” said Momoyo Harris, George Washington’s afloat recreation specialist director. “Everything went really smooth compared to other ports we’ve been to. The success of our Australia port visit has really set the bar high for future port calls.”
While some chose to spend their liberty taking in the sights and sounds of Brisbane, many Sailors used their free time to volunteer at local schools in order to connect with the children as ambassadors of America.
“These kids are extremely smart and interactive,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Louis Blasini. “We’ve had a great time here and it’s been a wonderful experience.”
Aboard the ship, more than 1,200 Australian guests had the opportunity to explore the flight deck and hangar bays to learn about aircraft carrier operations.
To further commemorate the event, Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Graham Quirk released the following message to George Washington’s crew:
“…In recognition of your visit I am very pleased to announce that for the remainder of your stay our main river crossing, the Story Bridge, will be lit in the colours of red, white and blue…”
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 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.
Press Release, August 8, 2013