USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan June 14, once again getting underway just four days after returning to port.
"Today we will begin our summer patrol where we operate throughout the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility … fostering understating, cooperation and interoperability," said Capt. David Lausman, GW's commanding officer.
Working with other maritime forces can help increase stability within the region and also decrease misunderstandings and tensions, Lausman said. GW and its crew of approximately 3,200 Sailors, recently returned from 24 days of training where the crew successfully completed Combat Operations Efficiency (COE) qualifications which included equipment testing and carrier landing qualifications with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5.
The COE certification, sometimes called a "blue-water certification," allows the ship and air wing team to launch and recover aircraft without the requirement for a divert airfield if operationally necessary.
During that time, GW's flight deck crew completed 1,300 aircraft launches and more than 1,400 arrested landings.
"I'm ready to see what the ship can do," said Aviation Boatwain's Mate Airman Andrew Seals. "Last time we pulled out we were just doing test runs and getting qualified as a ship."
Seals said that even though he has worked hard during the past month he is ready to pull back out again.
"I'm looking forward to going on deployment because even though I was here for the last part of the fall deployment, I really didn't get a chance to experience it fully," said Aviation Structural Mechanic (Equipment) Airman Kurtis Kile.
"So far I have had a good experience working up on the flight deck and even though it is dangerous, it's exciting at the same time and I can't wait to do it again," said Kile.
GW is the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, which is commanded by Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd. The strike group is also comprised of Destroyer Squadron 15, the guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63) and CVW-5.