USS George Washington Holds Training Session
Midshipmen received valuable firsthand training aboard U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) while underway May 30.
During a three-week shipboard training experience, midshipmen were given the opportunity to conn George Washington during a fueling-at-sea with Military Sealift Command ship fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70).
Standing the conn under supervision during a high-risk evolution provided midshipmen experiences with precise navigation and also an inside look into one of the many jobs possibilities taken on by a surface warfare officer (SWO).
“I think it is really cool to be able to conn George Washington,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Josh Clapper, Yale University Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) cadet, from Coronado Island, Calif. “I will be able to compare experiences with the other midshipmen in my unit and I am going to guess that none of them were given the privilege to conn a ship during a replenishment-at-sea. This is definitely an experience that is only available aboard an aircraft carrier.”
According to Lt. Ves Whittemore, George Washington’s assistant navigator, giving midshipmen the opportunity to conn the ship during an evolution provides them a better idea whether or not they want to become a SWO. It also teaches them that although conning the ship is challenging, patience takes the difficulty away.
“Once I found out I was going to an aircraft carrier, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Titus Davis, Moorehouse College NROTC cadet, from Atlanta. “George Washington is a different environment. I found my experiences onboard and conning the ship very exhilarating. I now understand when SWOs say that the one thing they will miss when leaving a ship is driving. I never thought that I would have done all of the things I have already done onboard, and we still have a week left. I am looking forward to what else is left in store.”
According to both Clapper and Davis, their experiences aboard George Washington gave them answers to questions they had from their naval science classes and alleviate any confusion from what is important out in the fleet.
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 partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Press Release, June 04, 2014; Image: Wikimedia