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Vietnamese Diplomats Tour Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Michael Tackitt, USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va., (June 30, 2010) – The crew of USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) welcomed aboard Vietnamese diplomats for a tour of the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, June 30.

Deputy Chief of Mission for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Minh Tien Nguyen, and nearly 50 Vietnamese military and civilian guests, were piped aboard with full honors and greeted by USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH Commanding Officer (CO) Capt. Chip Miller in the ship’s hangar bay.

The visit was part of the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Nguyen, who had also traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of his visit, said that the purpose of the tour of the Navy’s newest warship wasn’t just about sightseeing, but also to demonstrate Vietnam’s commitment to strengthening diplomatic relationships with the United States and ensure growing peace and prosperity between the two nations.

Also touring with Nguyen and his guests was Expeditionary Strike Group Two Commander, Rear Adm. Michelle J. Howard. Howard spoke of not only the diplomatic importance of continuing to strengthen relations between the two countries, but the strategic importance as well.

“Vietnam and America are maritime nations, and because of that we have common goals and common interests,” Howard said. “Our nations benefit when the seas are secure, and our commerce and travel systems, and our people in our countries benefit from these circumstances.”

Stops on the tour included the flight deck, the navigation bridge, the CO’s inport cabin, the ship’s museum and finally lunch with the CO inside the wardroom, where each member of the Vietnamese envoy received a USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH command ball cap as a memento of their visit.

The United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam officially renormalized diplomatic relations July 11, 1995.