- USS George Washington (CVN-73)
USS "George Washington" (CVN 73) is the sixth ship in the "Nimitz" class of nuclear-powered
supercarriers, and the fourth United States Navyship to be named after George Washington, first President of the United States. Her contract was awarded on December 27, 1982 and she was built by Newport News Shipbuilding. The keel was laid on August 25, 1986, she was christened July 21, 1990 by then- First LadyBarbara Bush, and was commissioned July 4, 1992.
Previously homeported in Norfolk, VA, in May, 2008, the carrier was enroute to its new homeport in Japan when it suffered a serious fire off the coast of South America causing $70 million in damages and resulting in the relief from command of both its Captain and Executive Officer. The "Washington" underwent repairs in San Diego, CA, since shortly after the blaze, and finally arrived in
Yokosukaon the 24th of September 2008 to a mixture of cheers and protests from the local populace. [ [http://hamptonroads.com/2008/07/navy-relieves-top-officers-carrier-washington-after-fire "Navy relieves top officers on carrier Washington after fire"] The Virginia-Pilot (Newspaper), Hampton Roads, VA 30 July 2008] [ [http://www.n-tv.de/AtomFlugzeugtraeger_festgemacht_Proteste_in_Japan/250920082607/1028474.html] "Finally in Yokosuka, Source: www.n-tv.de, cnn-partner-website]
"George Washington" (commonly known as "GW") is 1,092 ft (333 m) long, 257 ft (78 m) wide and is as high as a twenty-four-story building, at 244 feet (74 m). The super carrier can accommodate approximately 80 aircraft and has a flight deck 4.5 acres (18,000 m²) in size, using four elevators that are 3,880 ft² (360 m²) each to move planes between the flight deck and the hangar bay. With a combat load, "GW" displaces almost 97,000 tons and can accommodate 6,250 crewmembers. Her four distilling units can make 400,000 U.S. gallons (1,500 m³) of
potable watera day; her food service divisions serve 18,000 meals per day. There are over 2,500 compartments on board requiring 2,520 tons (2.1 MW) of air conditioning capacity (enough to cool over 2,000 homes). The warship uses two Mark II stockless anchors that weigh 30 tons each, with each link of the anchor chain weighing 360 pounds (160 kg). She is currently equipped with 3 20 mm Phalanx CIWSmounts and 2 Sea SparrowSAM launchers. 1 CIWS and 1 Sea Sparrow mount were removed to make way for 2 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missilelaunchers, installed during the 2005 Planned Incremental Availability (PIA).
Traditionally, US Navy aircraft carrier hangar bays were painted "Navy Gray"; "George Washington" was commissioned with her hangar bay bulkheads and overhead painted white, to make the hangar bay appear larger and brighter. Since then, all US carriers have followed suit. All US Navy aircraft carriers have their hull number painted on both sides of their island structure for identification. These numbers are lighted white for visibility at night while in port. By order of Congress, "George Washington's" island number is outlined in red, white and blue lights in honor of her namesake's contributions to America's independence.
GeneralWashington had long been a proponent of a strong Navy. On 15 November 1781 he wrote, "Without a decisive Naval force, we can do nothing decisive. And with it, everything honourable and decisive". These words are engraved on a plaque on the ship's quarterdeck. The ship cost over $4.5 billion in 2007 dollars to manufacture.
A4W nuclear reactors are used for propulsion (the ship is capable of steaming more than three million miles before refueling) turning 4 five-bladed screws that weigh 66,220 pounds (30 t) each driving the ship at speeds over 30 knots (56 km/h).
"George Washington" has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing the ship's excellence. They include the 1997, 2000, and 2002
Battenberg Cups, the 1994, 1997, 2000, and 2002 Battle "E", two Navy Unit Commendations and three Meritorious Unit Commendations. In 1994, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Awardfor the Atlantic Fleet.
Designed by its commissioning crew, the ship's seal includes a classic silhouette of America's first president and his signature, a band of thirteen stars representing the original
thirteen coloniesand the crossed American flagand Betsy Rossflag, the "flags of freedom." Also featured is the ship itself, launching an F/A-18all encircled by an unbroken rope symbolizing the solidarity of the crew. The ship's motto, "Spirit of Freedom," was used by General Washington in a letter to a fellow patriot during the American Revolutionto describe the mood of the people.
Since commissioning, "George Washington" has made six
Mediterranean Sea/ Persian Gulfdeployments. In 1994, during "George Washington"'s maiden deployment the ship proudly served as the backdrop for the 50th anniversary of D-Day. In 1996, during its second deployment, "George Washington" was host to a historic meeting of the Joint Military Commission composed of the military leaders of the Former Warring Factions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ship also played a vital peacekeeping role in Operation Decisive Endeavorin Bosnia and Herzegovina and enforced the "No Fly zone" over Southern Iraqas part of Operation Southern Watch.
On its third deployment from October 1997 to April 1998, "GW" spent most of her six-month cruise in the Persian Gulf as the cornerstone of the U.S. military force, which compelled Iraq to allow United Nations weapons inspectors into the country.
On its fourth deployment from June 2000 to December 2000, "George Washington" again spent a large portion of the six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf as the centerpiece of the U.S. military presence there.
The "George Washington" CVBG departed June 21 2000. Their deployment included operations in the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. While in the Persian Gulf, the battle group supported Operation Southern Watch by flying more than 800 sorties over Iraq. Surface forces supported UN sanctions against Iraq by conducting Maritime Interception Operations and diverting more than 20,000 metric tons of oil smuggled out of Iraq in violation of UN sanctions. In the Adriatic, the battle group was a stabilizing presence when tensions rose in the region after presidential elections in Yugoslavia.
Throughout the deployment, battle group units participated in numerous international exercises, including Exercise Destined Glory, the largest NATO exercise of the year. Battle group units worked with military forces from Oman in the Persian Gulf, and from Hungary, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, Spain, France and the UK in the Mediterranean region, improving interoperability and strengthening relationships with those countries.
amphibious ready group(ARG), with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit(MEU) embarked, left homeport July 11. Their deployment was highlighted by extensive operations and exercises throughout the Mediterranean, including presence operations in the Adriatic Sea. The ARG/MEU team also participated in several international exercises. In addition to NATO Exercise Destined Glory, they were key players in Slunj 2000 (a bilateral exercise with Croatia) and PHIBLEX 00.
During the deployment, battle group ships steamed more than convert|400000|nmi|km and spent a combined 1800 days underway. The aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 17 (
CVW-17) flew more than 9,000 sorties and made 9,000 arrested landings aboard "George Washington".
About 15,000 Sailors and Marines of the "George Washington" aircraft carrier battle group (CVBG) and "Saipan" amphibious ready group (ARG) returned to their East Coast home ports from six-month Mediterranean Sea/Persian Gulf deployments December 19 and December 21, 2000, respectively. A forecast low pressure system off the East Coast the next week precipitated a decision to bring the CVBG units in a day early. They had been scheduled to arrive December 20.
Aircraft from CVW 17 arrived at NAS Oceana, December 18. The six ships returning December 19 included "George Washington", USS|Normandy|CG-60, USS|Caron|DD-970, USS|Briscoe|DD-977, USS|Hawes|FFG-53, USS|Supply|T-AOE-6. The three ships of the "Saipan" ARG scheduled to return December 21 included USS|Saipan|LHA-2, USS|Austin|LPD-4, and USS|Ashland|LSD-48. Battle group submarines USS|Albany|SSN-753 and USS|Pittsburgh|SSN-720 also returned December 21.
On 13 February, "George Washington" began a six-month PIA at
Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The ship received upgrades to many ship systems, including berthing spaces, ventilation systems, and computer networking. On 31 July the ship began four days of sea trials before returning to homeport in preparation for workups for a planned 2002 deployment.
On 6 September "George Washington" was presented with the 2000
Battenberg Cup, awarded annually to the Atlantic Fleet ship or submarine with the greatest crew accomplishments during the previous calendar year. It was the second time "GW" had won the award (the ship was also the winner of the 1997 award). The crew also accepted the Flatley Award for aircraft carriers with the best aviation safety record.
On the morning of 11 September, "George Washington" was operating off the coast of Virginia conducting routine carrier qualifications when the
9/11attacks took place. She was diverted north and arrived in New York Citythe following day. For the next three days, the ship and her air wing (most of which was hastily transferred from USS|John F. Kennedy|CV-67) provided airspace defense for the city and surrounding area in coordination with NORAD. The ship then returned home and resumed the Inter Deployment Training Cycle. From 2 November to 29 November "George Washington" participated in Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) I/II. For the remainder of the year and into 2002 the ship hosted more carrier qualifications.
On 1 April 2002 ships and aircraft of the "George Washington" Carrier Battle Group commenced use of the
ViequesIsland inner range in conjunction with their Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX). The exercise also utilized the Northern and Southern Puerto Rican Operating Areas and will involve complex battle group training events, naval surface fire support training and air-to-ground bombing. COMPTUEX is an intermediate level battle group exercise designed to forge the Battle Group into a cohesive, fighting team. In accordance with presidential directives, all training on Vieques utilized inert (non-explosive) ordnance. While underway, on 8 April, CAPT Martin J. Erdossy relieved CAPT William McCarthy as Commanding Officer. Present at the change of command ceremony on the ship's flight deck were RADM Joseph Sestak, "GW" Battle Group Commander and RADM Lindell G. Rutherford, Commander Carrier Group Four, who had been "GW"'s Commanding Officer prior to CAPT McCarthy.
Completion of COMPTUEX was a critical step in the pre-deployment training cycle and a prerequisite for the battle group's Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) in late April. Units participating in COMPTUEX included "George Washington" with Carrier Air Wing 17 and
Destroyer Squadron 26embarked; guided-missile cruisers USS|Normandy|CG-60 and USS|Monterey|CG-61; Guided missile destroyers USS|Barry|DDG-52, USS|Laboon|DDG-58 and USS|Mahan|DDG-72; destroyers USS|Arthur W. Radford|DD-968, guided-missile frigateUSS|Kauffman|FFG-59, attack submarineUSS|Oklahoma City|SSN-723, and oiler USS|Supply|T-AOE-6"Supply" (T-AOE-6).
Ships and squadrons of the "George Washington" Battle Group successfully completed JTFEX 02-2 on 5 May, paving the way for its certification to deploy. The exercise took place in the waters off the U.S. East Coast, as well as on training ranges in
North Carolinaand Florida.
Following a stand down period, the "George Washington" Battle Group deployed on June 20, 2002 and headed for the North
Arabian Seawhere it relieved the USS|John F. Kennedy|CV-67 Battle Group on July 19.
On September 11, 2002 the "George Washington" was relieved by the USS|Abraham Lincoln|CVN-72 Battle Group in the Persian Gulf, where "George Washington" had been supporting
Operation Southern Watchand Operation Enduring Freedom. Following 11 September, the battle group transited to the North Arabian Sea and headed west and then north, transiting the Suez by mid-September. On September 23 "George Washington" had arrived in the Eastern Atlantic, and participated in Mediterranean Shark '02, a bilateral exercise with Morocco. The air portions of the exercise involved virtually all CVW-17aircraft and up to 12 Moroccan fighters a day, but the Moroccans were not the only ones protecting their assets during mock battles. "GW" Sailors also got a heady dose of realism when the exercise called for an attack against the American aircraft carrier without its protective fighter umbrella.
On October 2 the crew was treated to a flight deck concert by the band
3 Doors Downwhile the ship was making a port visit to Lisbon Portugal. Footage from this concert and the band's tour of the ship was used in the video to the band's single "When I'm Gone".
The "George Washington" Battle Group returned to Norfolk on December 20, 2002, completing a six-month combat deployment in the Persian Gulf, in addition to operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
During their six-month deployment, "George Washington" launched approximately 10,000 sorties. These sorties included offensive strike missions, designed to dislodge both Taliban and Al-Qaida operatives. In August, "George Washington" and USS|Normandy|CG-60, steamed into the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the southern no-fly zone over Iraq.
CVW-17sorties marked the first time in a year that aircraft launched from a U.S. carrier would patrol the skies over Iraq in conjunction with other coalition aircraft.
While deployed overseas, Battle Group ships visited 16 different countries, including
Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Slovenia, Turkeyand the United Arab Emirates.
On June 23 "George Washington" was presented with the 2002 Battenberg Cup. It was the third time the ship had won the prestigious award.
On 9 September the ship left Norfolk to conduct carrier qualifications. Two days later, the ship was operating off the coast of Virginia when an arresting wire parted while an F/A-18 was landing. As the wire parted, it snapped back violently across the deck, injuring eleven crewmen, two critically (the wire nearly hit an additional crew member but he jumped above the wire in time). The sailors, who were part of the ship's company,
VAW-120and VFA-106had to be medically evacuated from the ship but all survived the mishap. The aircraft was lost over the side but the pilot was able to eject safely. Footage of the mishap was later used in a National Geographicspecial about the ship that was being filmed at the time.
"GW" returned to Norfolk, Va., 19 December 2003 after 40 days at sea, where she successfully completed her Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). The GWSTRKGRU was composed of
Destroyer Squadron 28and Carrier Air Wing 7 ( CVW-7), USS|Vella Gulf|CG-72, USS|Ramage|DDG-61, USS|Ross|DDG-71, USS|Bulkeley|DDG-84, USS|Elrod|FFG-55 and USS|Supply|T-AOE-6.
The exercise involved more than 7,600 Sailors operating off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Having completed this final phase of the training cycle, the strike group assumed surge status and is fully qualified to take the battle to any arena in the world.
During this aggressive work-up cycle, the training was compressed to support the
Chief of Naval Operations-directed Fleet Readiness Plan (FRP). FRP calls for six surge carrier strike groups to be ready at any time, with two more ready shortly thereafter.
The Navy announced on January 13, 2004 that the "George Washington" Carrier Strike Group would depart for a routine deployment on 20 January in support of the global war on terrorism.
"George Washington" made a port visit at Souda Bay,
Cretebeginning on 6 February through 10 February 2004. GW shared the port visit with USS|Vella Gulf|CG-72. By February 12, "George Washington" was at sea and transited the Suez Canal on or about 16 February. The GW was operating in the Red Sea on 17 February.
On 20 February "George Washington" entered the Gulf of Aden; three days later the GW was operating in the Northern Arabian Sea. On 27 February 2004 "George Washington" was passing through the Gulf of Oman, and by early March, she and other elements of the Carrier Strike Group were conducting operations in the Persian Gulf. On 13 March the ship made the first of three port visits to
Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates.
On 8 April,
F/A-18 Hornets from Carrier Air Wing Seven participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve. One of the Naval Air Station Oceana-based “Wildcats” from Strike Fighter Squadron 131 ( VFA-131) conducted a 20 mm strafing run against an enemy position. Another VFA-131 Hornet dropped two 500 pound GBU-12laser-guided bombs on another enemy position in Fallujah, Iraq, on April 9. This was the first live ordnance dropped by CVW-7aircraft since "George Washington" deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedomand Enduring Freedom.
After being relieved by the USS|John F. Kennedy|CV-67, the ship began its transit home. The ship and crew would enjoy one final port visit to
Naples Italyfrom July 14—July 18.
After traveling more than convert|51000|nmi|km and spending six months at sea, "George Washington" completed its sixth Mediterranean and Persian Gulf deployment and returned to Norfolk on July 26.
On September 13, 2004, "GW" sailors returned to sea to perform carrier qualifications, conduct training drills and fine tune their warfighting skills, in order to keep the surge carrier in top form if the need to deploy should arise. "George Washington" welcomed Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (
VFA-122) "Flying Eagles", the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the Navy’s newest fighter, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, on 3 November 2004. It was the first time the fighters had been launched and recovered on the carrier. The ship returned home the morning of September 22. On September 30, CAPT Garry R. White relieved CAPT Erdossy as Commanding Officer at a ceremony in the ship's hangar bay.
"George Washington" began an underway period 2 November, marking the third underway period for the surge carrier since returning from deployment in July. With one underway remaining this year, the objectives while under way were to be obtaining carrier qualifications (CQs) and training carrier qualifications (TCQs), a substantial ammunition offload and an annual reactor inspection, all of which would mark the closing of the ship's surge status. Over the following two weeks, "GW" was to help new pilots earn their wings by helping them with their training carrier qualifications. These TCQs are the essential last step in any pilot's certification process. Long-time pilots are also doing CQs as refresher training. "GW" returned to home port on 22 November. "GW" completed one last underway CQ period from 30 November to 3 December before standing down for the holiday season.
On January 28, 2005 the ship entered drydock for PIA. Many ship's systems were upgraded and maintenance was done to the hull while in drydock. The ship's four jet blast deflectors were removed and upgraded to handle the increased heat generated by the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The ship's defensive weapons configuration was also altered, as one
Phalanx CIWSmount and one Sea Sparrowlauncher were removed and replaced with two Rolling Airframe Missilelaunchers. During the 11 months the ship was drydocked, the crew contributed an unprecedented 20,000 hours of volunteer community service to the city of Newport News. The availability was completed on schedule, and "George Washington" returned to her Norfolk homeport on 17 December 2005.
On December 1, 2005, the United States Navy announced that "George Washington" will replace USS|Kitty Hawk|CV-63 in 2008 as the forward-deployed carrier at
Yokosuka Naval Basein Yokosuka, Japan. She will be the first nuclear-powered surface warship permanently stationed in Japan. [cite web |url=http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=21248 |title=USS George Washington to Replace USS Kitty Hawk as U.S. Navy’s Forward Deployed Carrier |publisher= United States Navy|date=2005-12-02]
On 31 January the ship, with Carrier Air Wing 17 aboard, began a Flight Deck Certification and carrier qualification period. She returned to Norfolk on February 16 to prepare for further exercises and tasking. She was underway again on February 28 to conduct more carrier quals and damage control training and evaluations, and returned to Norfolk on March 17. "GW" and
CVW-17left Norfolk on April 4 for a scheduled two month "Partnership of the Americas" deployment to operate as part of SOUTHCOM. This deployment included counter-drug operations in the Caribbean Sea, crew exchanges and exercises with Latin American and South American navies, and port visits for the carrier and strike group, which consisted of USS|Monterey|CG-61, USS|Stout|DDG-55, and USS|Underwood|FFG-36. The first of these port visits took place from April 14–Apri1 17 April when "George Washington" stopped in St. Maarten. The next day the ship was underway again, and soon began a crew exchange program with the Colombian Navy. More exercises followed, along with another port visit, to the island of Antiguafrom May 15—May 18. After leaving Antigua, "GW" began the transit back to homeport and arrived in Norfolk on May 24. On July 11 she left her home port for two weeks of carrier qualifications, returning to Norfolk on July 24. She left Norfolk on 14 August for a final round of carrier qualifications and completed her Operational Reactor Safeguard Exam (ORSE). She returned to port 1 September, though she was delayed several hours due to high winds and heavy seas caused by Hurricane Ernesto. In a ceremony held immediately upon returning to homeport, Commanding Officer Garry R. White was promoted to Rear Admiral, marking a rare occasion when a Flag Officercommanded a ship. She entered Norfolk Naval Shipyardfor a Planned Incremental Availability in September to prepare for her upcoming homeport transfer to Yokosuka Naval Basein Yokosuka, Japan. Work to be completed includes removal and replacement of the ship's radar mast, propeller screws, and re-alignments of the Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department.
On 14 December, Rear Admiral White was relieved by Captain David Dykhoff in a ceremony held at Naval Station Norfolk.
On April 7, 2008 "George Washington", with
CVW-17and Carrier Strike Group 8 embarked, departed Norfolk, VA for the transit around South America, en route to Yokosuka, Japanto replace USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). During the transit, the Washington Battle Group participated in US Southern Commandexercises Partnership of the Americas and Unitas, a joint military exercise between the US Navy, Brazilian Navy and Argentine Navy. On April 22, 2008, "George Washington" arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for its first port visit to that country.
After the turnover with "Kitty Hawk", CVW-17 and Carrier Strike Group 8 will return to their home ports in the US and will be replaced by Carrier Air Wing 5 based at
Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan and Carrier Strike Group 5 based at Yokosuka Naval Basein Yokosuka, Japan. [cite web |url=http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=36250 |title=USS George Washington Departs |publisher= United States Navy|date=2008-04-07] The Carrier Strike Group Five Staff is also double hatted as CTF-70 Battle Force Seventh Fleet.
USS "George Washington" will be the first US nuclear powered aircraft carrier ever permanently based outside the continental US. In an attempt to explain the carrier's mission to the Japanese public, the U.S. Navy printed a
mangaabout life aboard GW, titled "CVN-73".cite web |url=http://www.animekon.com/news-517-US-Navy-Manga-Set-To-Invade-Japan.html |title=U.S. Navy Manga Set To Invade Japan |publisher=Animekon |accessdate=2008-05-08]
On May 22, 2008 a fire occurred on the ship off the Pacific Coast of South America that burned one sailor and injured 36 others. There were no fatalities on the ship. The Navy defined the incident as 'serious'. [cite web |url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/23/ship.fire/index.html |title=Sailor treated for burns after fire on carrier |publisher=
CNN|accessdate=2008-05-27 |date=Friday, 23 May 2008] According to a statement from Naval Air Forces' public affairs office, the fire broke out in the ship's air-conditioning and refrigeration space and an auxiliary boiler room. The fire spread via a cableway and caused extreme heat in some parts of the ship. It took several hours for the ship's crew to contain and extinguish the fire. [cite web |url=http://www.sandiego6.com/mostpopular/story.aspx?content_id=3f6a20ee-d84b-452f-b5cc-039ad07369b6 |title=Fire Aboard USS George Washington Causes Injury, Damage |publisher= SanDiego6|accessdate=2008-05-27 |date=23 May 2008]
On Tuesday, May 27, the USS George Washington stopped in San Diego, California, en route to its new home port located in
Yokosuka, Japan, for repairs. [cite web |url=http://www.sandiego6.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=320fda7c-f8c8-463e-960c-62399b7c5894 |title=USS George Washington Stops in San Diego to Repair Fire Damage |publisher= SanDiego6|accessdate=2008-05-27 |date=27 May 2008] On June 20, the Navy announced that the damage from the fire was more serious than previously thought and that repairs would take until at least August and would cost $70 million. The turnover with the "Kitty Hawk" was postponed and would take place in San Diego instead of Hawaii. [cite web |url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/military/20080621-9999-1m21george.html |title=Damaged aircraft carrier to stay in port for repairs |author=Liewer, Steve |publisher= San Diego Union-Tribune|date=2008-06-21] [cite web |url=http://starbulletin.com/2008/07/04/news/story11.html |title=Kitty Hawk remains in Hawaii for RIMPAC |author=Kakesako, Gregg K. |publisher= Honolulu Star-Bulletin] cite web |url=http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUST11078420080731 |title=U.S. fires captain of Japan-bound nuclear warship |publisher= Reuters|date=2008-07-30 |accessdate=2008-07-30] [Eisman, Dale, "Two Top Navy Officers Fired Over $70 Million Carrier Blaze", " Norfolk Virginian-Pilot", 31 July 2008.]
On July 13, 13,000 Japanese protested in
Yokosukaagainst the basing of "George Washington" in Japan, saying that the onboard fire showed that the nuclear-powered carrier was unsafe. [cite news |title=Thousands Protest U.S. Ship |pages=10 |publisher= Washington Post|date=2008-07-14] The US Navy said that Rear Admiral James Kelly, commander of US Naval Forces Japan, is planning to meet soon with Yokosuka Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya, who has requested that the US military fully explain the fire and what preventive measures the Navy plans to take.
A Navy investigation found that the fire was "entirely preventable" and was caused by unauthorized smoking taking place in a room where 115 gallons of flammable refrigerant compressor oil was improperly stored. The room was located near the aft auxiliary boiler. The ship's damage control team took nearly eight hours to discover the source of the smoke and flames. By that time, the fire had spread to eight decks and 80 compartments and destroyed miles of electrical and fiber-optic cables. The damage control department had been found deficient in three inspections between June 2007 and April 2008. Although the carrier's commander, Captain David C. Dykhoff, and executive officer, Captain David M. Dober, started a program to remedy the team's training and performance in the month before the fire, the report concluded those efforts were insufficient. Rear Admiral Frank Drennan, who led the investigation, said, "It is apparent from this extensive study that there were numerous processes and procedures related to fire prevention and readiness and training that were not properly functioning. The extent of damage could have been reduced had numerous longstanding firefighting and firefighting management deficiencies been corrected." [Liewer, Steve, " [http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20081007/news_1m7carrier.html Crew Faulted In Blaze On Carrier] ", "
San Diego Union-Tribune", October 7, 2008.]
On July 30, 2008 Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, announced that Dykhoff had been relieved of his duties citing "a loss of confidence in his ability to command and his failure to meet mission requirements and readiness standards." Dober was also relieved for "substandard performance." [ [http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=38840 "USS George Washington Investigation Complete, Senior Leadership Relieved"] U.S. Navy NNS080730-13 30 July 2008] [Eisman, Dale, "Two Top Navy Officers Fired Over $70 Million Carrier Blaze", "
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot", 31 July 2008.] Six other sailors were disciplined with nonjudicial punishment. Four sailors were found guilty of violating a lawful order and hiding hazardous materials in direct violation of safety regulations. Two noncommissioned officers were found guilty of negligence and dereliction of duty for not properly supervising the workspace. The Navy's Pacific Fleet refused to name the enlisted sailors disciplined. [Tritten, Travis B., "Sailors Disciplined For Roles In Fire Aboard George Washington", " Stars and Stripes", 29 August 2008.]
On 21 August, under new skipper Captain J.R. Haley and executive officer Captain Karl O. Thomas, [ [http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=38840 "USS George Washington Investigation Complete, Senior Leadership Relieved"] U.S. Navy NNS080730-13 30 July 2008] [Eisman, Dale, "Two Top Navy Officers Fired Over $70 Million Carrier Blaze", "
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot", 31 July 2008.] "George Washington" departed NAS North Islandfor Japan, marking the first time the carrier embarked Carrier Air Wing Five(CVW 5). [http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=39259] The carrier arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on September 25, 2008. Several hundred local protestors greeted the ship's arrival. [ Kyodo News, "George Washington Arrives Sept. 25", " Japan Times", September 13, 2008.]
List of aircraft carriers
List of aircraft carriers of the United States Navy
* [http://gw.ffc.navy.mil/ "USS George Washington" official website]
* [http://www.navysite.de/cvn/cvn73.html "USS George Washington" webpage]
* [http://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/us_navy_pages/aircraft_carriers/uss_george_washington_cvn_73_page_1.htm Maritimequest USS George Washington CVN-73 Photo Gallery]
* [http://www.uscarriers.net/cvn73history.htm USS George Washington history at U.S. Carriers]
* [http://www.ctf70.navy.mil/ "Commander Carrier Strike Group Five / Commander Task Force Seventy / Commander Battle Force Seventh Fleet" Official Website]
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