South China Sea "Courtesy" Visits By US Aircraft Carrier
22 Oct 2012
Visits to bolster Philippines and Vietnamese Concerns
USS George Washington now on a courtesy visit in SE Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Summer M. Anderson
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tatiana Avery
USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- Distinguished visitors from Vietnam visited the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) for a tour of the ship, Oct. 20.
Fourteen representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, and military officials and business leaders toured the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier's navigation bridge, combat directions center, air operations, hangar bay and flight deck to better understand U.S. aircraft carrier operations and the crew.
Although George Washington has never conducted a port visit to Vietnam, this was not the first time the ship had Vietnamese visitors aboard; George Washington had the opportunity to host visitors from Vietnam in 2011.
Showing the landing of a navy jet to Vietnamese visitors, the George Washington's crew display the extent of the firepower available from the aircraft carrier. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tatiana Avery/RELEASED)
"We are partnered with all nations with the intention to work together to provide maritime security for the world," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, George Washington's executive officer. "We are always happy to have the opportunity to host the citizens of Vietnam on our ship."
While touring the ship, the group was also escorted by four Sailors of Vietnamese descent stationed aboard George Washington.
"To actually see Vietnamese citizens come on to our ship and get to speak with them was a great opportunity that we don't get very often," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Quan Tran, from Baltimore. "They were interested to know about our lives about the ship and exactly what it is that we do."
The visitors spoke with both high and low ranking members of the George Washington crew to better understand the ties and common goal of security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Upon their departure, the visitors extended their deepest thanks to the crew of the George Washington and expressed hopes that the aircraft carrier could make a future visit to Vietnam in order to foster ties between the two countries.
"I give kudos to everyone on the ship who work together to make something so amazing and gigantic work in order to protect this region," said An T. Le, consul general for the U.S. Consulate General, Ho Chi Minh City. "The fact that 5,500 Sailors can all work so cohesively is extremely impressive."
George Washington is the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG), the U.S. Navy's only continuously forward-deployed carrier strike group operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. GWCSG is currently conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.