USS George Washington Arrives in Busan
The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, arrived in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK) for a scheduled port visit, Oct. 4.
George Washington departed its forward-operating location of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, Sept. 13, following the ship’s continued maintenance availability (CMAV) and the fiscal year 2013 chief petty officer pinning ceremony.
“It’s an honor to be in Busan,” said Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington’s commanding officer. “The U.S. military has maintained a presence in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean for more than a century and a half. We are committed to continue a presence that is focused on peace, regional cooperation and stability.”
During the underway period leading to the ROK port visit, the crew underwent unit level training-sustainment (ULTRA-S) certification. ULTRA-S is a review designed to evaluate a ship’s readiness across different warfare areas. The goal is to ensure surface force units perpetuate the highest possible levels of proficiency in areas such as engineering, damage control, combat systems, medical readiness, aviation maintenance material management, seamanship and navigation
“The crew’s enthusiasm and execution during ULTRA-S was outstanding,” said Fenton. “This was a great opportunity to gauge ourselves against outside observers. As expected, we learned a lot and George Washington and our Sailors rose to the occasion and performed exceptionally.”
George Washington’s command religious ministries department coordinated eight community service projects for the port visit with schools, orphanages and rehabilitation centers.
“Port visits to Busan are aimed to build friendships and goodwill with the people of the Republic of Korea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Young Song, George Washington’s chaplain. “Our Sailors and crew look forward to the cultural exchange and to build lasting bonds with (ROK) military service members and the local community.”
Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier are also scheduled to participate in four sports events, including rugby, soccer, basketball and softball.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Aerographer’s Mate 3rd Class Takeo Wadriski, a George Washington soccer team member. “We definitely do not want to underestimate our opponents. As a whole, it means a great deal of pride and gratitude to be representing our country and Navy through this beautiful sport; to be able to play foreign countries is a great opportunity to build relations with that host nation.”
George Washington and embarked staffs will also have the opportunity to get some well-deserved liberty to experience the Korean culture.
“I’m looking forward to some liberty with my friends in Busan,” said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Kayla Whalen, from Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. “Like every place I have visited since I joined the Navy, I can’t wait to sleep in a real bed, go to the beach, try the food, explore the city and workout at a CrossFit gym.”
The ship has also invited more than 500 civic, government and military guests for a reception on board, as well as an expected 1,200 guests for ship tours.
“George Washington last visited Busan in 2012, and we look forward to continue to foster friendships and goodwill with the people of the Rep. of Korea,” said Fenton. “We hope to have many more visits.”
George Washington and CVW 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, October 04, 2013; Image: US Navy