PACIFIC OCEAN – The United States celebrates the birth of America’s independence with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues; however, USS George Washington (CVN 73) Sailors will mark another landmark occasion this Fourth of July as they celebrate not only the establishment of their country but of their ship as well.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and its crew will also commemorate this Independence Day the 20-year milestone of the ship’s commissioned service with the U.S. Navy and with more than 12 successful tours across the globe, George Washington continues to provide a strong U.S. Naval presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Today we reflect on the birthday of this great war ship,” said Captain David Lausman, George Washington’s commanding officer. “Sailors who’ve served and are serving aboard her are the lifeblood of this ship. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, I ask that we also honor the Sailors who take this ship to sea in defense of freedom for all around the world.”
George Washington was commissioned on July 4, 1992 and became a full-fledged U.S. warship capable of delivering air power anywhere in the world after six years of construction, 40 million man-hours, and $3.5 billion.
“From the very beginning of our country to where we are today, the spirit of freedom has rung true through whatever we, as a people, have done,” said Rear Adm. J. R. Haley, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Five. “It is because of people like you, from the most junior seaman, to captains, that we prevail.”
George Washington’s crew celebrated this momentous event with numerous activities, including a steel beach picnic on the flight deck, and a talent show and cake cutting ceremony in the ship’s hangar bay.
“This is a great way for our Sailors to get away for a little bit and mingle with the crew,” said Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt. “Twenty years is a long time for a vessel. It’s a huge milestone and a great birthday to make for the crew; we’re looking forward to twenty-five.”
All hands were invited to spend the day relaxing and enjoying a little free time for pick-up games of football and basketball, a doughnut eating contest and video game tournaments all while eating grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and all the fixings. Afterwards, each Sailor aboard was invited to the hangar bay for a slice of birthday cake in honor of the aircraft carrier.