USS George Washington (CVN 73) made its first port visit to Guam as the nation’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier Oct. 31.
The visiting Nimitz-class carrier and accompanying ships USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS John S. McCaine (DDG 56), arrived, following participation in the International Fleet Review, which commemorates the foundation of the Korean government and its armed forces.
George Washington replaced USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) earlier this year as the permanently forward-deployed carrier at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan.
“This is the first visit to Guam for many of our Sailors as the ship was homeported in Norfolk, Va., before transferring to Japan,” said Lt. David Yang, a George Washington chaplain.
The carrier’s position in the Pacific supports the Navy’s role in the U.S. Maritime Strategy, which highlights the sea services’ core capabilities of forward presence, deterrence, sea control and power projection. The strategy includes international cooperation to enhance maritime security and also embraces faster response in humanitarian assistance.
Yang noted that even as George Washington Sailors strive to protect the nation and help allies, they also want to become a part of the Pacific community. To that end, Sailors from George Washington and Cowpens helped clean and paint local schools and facilities.
“Our Sailors consider it an honor to be able to serve others,” Yang said. “At every port we visit, our Sailors demonstrate their genuine willingness to offer themselves to serve and interact with the local residents.”
Sailors spent a scorching Saturday beautifying local schools and village centers in an effort to build a positive relationship between the carrier group and its new host community.
According to P.C. Lujan Elementary School Principal Jeanette Burch, Sailors from George Washington were helping out at the school by painting hallways, painting classrooms and the parking lot. She and the school staff and students were grateful for the support.
“We need their help,” Burch said. “We want the help.”
Sailors said they were more than happy to lend a hand and were eager for any chance to give back to the island.
“We’re here to help paint the school, to beautify it, to make it more perfect for the students,” said Aviation Ordnance Airman Lemar Williams. “It’s a way to establish a bond between the community and our Sailors, to let them know that we’re here to help.”
Robert Clark (NNS)