USS George Washington Returns to Yokosuka, Japan

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

6 Chinese Warships Spotted Near Okinawa

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) returned to its forward operating port of Yokosuka, Japan Nov. 22 wrapping up the ship's 2011 patrol, U.S. Navy said.

The patrol consisted of four port visits and two major exercises while cruising more than 50,000 nautical miles across the western Pacific Ocean.

In July, George Washington participated in Talisman Sabre, an exercise to train and validate the U.S. and Australian joint task force in crisis planning and their ability to conduct contingency operations. Three months later, George Washington then teamed up with Japan for Annual Exercise 2011 which allowed the two nations to practice and evaluate coordination procedures and interoperability elements required to effectively and mutually respond to the defense of Japan, a regional crisis or contingency situation in the Asia-Pacific region.

George Washington also conducted operations with Singapore, Indonesia, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Republic of Korea.

"The crew's performance throughout the entire calendar year of 2011 has been nothing short of phenomenal," said Capt. David A. Lausman, George Washington's commanding officer. "From the very beginning, the crew demonstrated teamwork in preparing the ship to get underway early to help the relief efforts of Operation Tomodachi, a truly phenomenal feat. That dedication and professionalism continued throughout the entire cruise."

Designed for the launch and recovery of aircraft at sea, that's exactly what George Washington did over and over again for more than 150 days at sea. Teaming up with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, George Washington's Air department successfully launched 6,220 aircraft while trapping a total of 6,269 planes; those aircraft going through 12.6 million gallons of JP5 which George Washington took on during two dozen replenishments-at-sea.

The 5,500 Sailors aboard George Washington consumed a total of 2.7 million meals prepared by the ship's Supply department. Producing enough fresh water to fill an Olympic size swimming pool every three days, the ship's two distilling units turned 41 million gallons of sea water into fresh water during the 2011 patrol, according to the U.S. Navy.

During their time off, the crew sent 882,446 emails per day totaling 132,366,900 for the entire cruise. For families and friends back home that sent letters and care packages, the crew received 158,000 pounds of mail in 2011. Additionally, the crew exceeded its goal for the Combined Federal Campaign by raising $136,000 to support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.

The crew of the U.S. Navy's only fulltime forward deployed aircraft carrier had the opportunity to make several unique port visits during the 2011 patrol spending a total of 17 days on liberty; the crew's first time ashore mostly likely their favorite as it came after spending 67 days underway. In August, the ship pulled into Laem Chabang, Thailand which was then followed by port visits to Busan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong which last welcomed George Washington in 2009.

"The strength and reputation of this ship... is the crew. They are most professional, most energetic and most willing to learn; they are what I am most proud of," said Lausman.

George Washington's mission is to enhance security, stability and prosperity in the western Pacific Ocean and to be in position to work with friends and allies in the region and respond to any crisis across the operational spectrum as directed, said the U.S. Navy.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Defense Ministry reported Wednesday that six Chinese warships have passed between the southern Japan islands of Okinawa and Miyako,

The fleet, comprising two destroyers, two frigates, one intelligence-gathering vessel and one tender, were moving toward the Pacific Ocean in the high seas some 100 kilometers northeast of Miyako Island between Tuesday morning and early Wednesday, the ministry said.

A Chinese intelligence-gathering ship has rarely been spotted, Jiji Press quoted a defense official as saying.

A total of 11 Chinese naval ships crossed the same waterway only in June and conducted exercises such as target practice in the waters some 450 kilometers southwest of Okinotorishima, Japan's southernmost island.

Photo: USS George Washington returns to Yokosuka (November 22)

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