USS George Washington (CVN-73)
USS George Washington during a photo exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships.
|Career (United States)|
|Name:||USS George Washington|
|Ordered:||27 December 1982|
|Builder:||Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News|
|Laid down:||25 August 1986|
|Sponsored by:||Barbara Bush|
|Christened:||21 July 1990|
|Commissioned:||4 July 1992|
|Homeport:||Yokosuka Naval Base-Yokosuka, Japan|
|Motto:||Spirit of Freedom|
|Nickname:||GW, G-Dub, "Cell Block 73"|
|Status:||In active service as of 2013|
|Class & type:||Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
Theodore Roosevelt subclass
|Displacement:||104,200 long tons (116,700 short tons)|
|Length:||Overall: 1,092 feet (332.8 m)
Waterline: 1,040 feet (317.0 m)
|Beam:||Overall: 252 ft (76.8 m)
Waterline: 134 ft (40.8 m)
|Draft:||Maximum navigational: 37 ft (11.3 m)
Limit: 41 ft (12.5 m)
|Propulsion:||2 × Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors
4 × steam turbines
4 × shafts
260,000 shp (194 MW)
|Speed:||30+ knots (56+ km/h; 35+ mph)|
|Range:||Unlimited distance; 20-25 years|
|Complement:||Ship's company: 3,200
Air wing: 2,480
|AN/SPS-48E 3-D air search radar
AN/SPS-49(V)5 2-D air search radar
AN/SPQ-9B target acquisition radar
AN/SPN-46 air traffic control radars
AN/SPN-43C air traffic control radar
AN/SPN-41 landing aid radars
4 × Mk 91 NSSM guidance systems
4 × Mk 95 radars
|SLQ-32A(V)4 Countermeasures suite
SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo countermeasures
|Armament:||2 × Mk 57 Mod3 Sea Sparrow
2 × RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile
3 × Phalanx CIWS
|Aircraft carried:||90 fixed wing and helicopters|
USS George Washington (CVN-73) is an American nuclear-powered supercarrier, the sixth ship in the Nimitz class and the fourth United States Navy ship to be named after George Washington, the first President of the United States. It was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and was commissioned 4 July 1992.
|International radio call sign of
USS George Washington (CVN-73)
George Washington (commonly known as GW) is 1,092 ft (333 m) long, 257 ft (78 m) wide and 244 feet (74 m) high. 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 long tons (99,000 t) and can accommodate 6,250 crewmembers. Its four distilling units can make 400,000 U.S. gallons (1,500,000 L) of potable water a day; its food service divisions serve 18,000 meals per day. There are over 2,500 compartments on board requiring 2,520 refrigeration tons (8.6 MW) of air conditioning capacity (enough to cool over 2,000 homes). The warship uses two Mark II stockless anchors that weigh 30 tons[vague] each, with each link of the anchor chain weighing 360 pounds (160 kg). It is currently equipped with two 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts and two Sea Sparrow SAM launchers. One CIWS and one Sea Sparrow mount were removed to make way for two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers, installed during the 2005 Drydocking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA).
Traditionally, U.S. Navy aircraft carrier hangar bays were painted Navy Gray; George Washington was commissioned with its hangar bay bulkheads and overhead painted white, to make the hangar bay appear larger and brighter. Since then, all U.S. carriers have followed suit. All U.S. Navy aircraft carriers have their hull number painted on both sides of their island structure for identification.
General Washington 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.
Two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors are used for propulsion (the ship is capable of steaming more than three million nautical miles before refueling) turning 4 five-bladed screws that weigh 66,220 pounds (30,040 kg) each, driving the ship at speeds over 30 knots (56 km/h).
The contract for George Washington was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding on 27 December 1982. The keel was laid on 25 August 1986, it was christened 21 July 1990 by then–First Lady Barbara Bush, and was commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk on 4 July 1992.
Fourth deployment, 2000 
On its fourth deployment from 21 June 2000 to 19 December 2000, George Washington spent a large portion of the six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf as part of the U.S. military presence there.
On 13 February, George Washington began a six-month Planned Incremental Availability (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 the morning of 11 September, George Washington was operating off the coast of Virginia conducting routine carrier qualifications when the 11 September attacks took place. It was diverted north and arrived in New York City just hours after the attacks.
Fifth deployment, 2002 
On 11 September 2002, 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 Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.
On 23 June George Washington was presented with the 2002 Battenberg Cup. It was the third time the ship had won the prestigious award. On 11 September while the ship was operating off the coast of Virginia, 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-120 and VFA-106 had 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 Geographic special about the ship that was being filmed at the time.
GW returned to Norfolk, Va., 19 December 2003 after 40 days at sea, where it successfully completed her Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). The GWSTRKGRU was composed of Destroyer Squadron 28 and 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 deploy.
Sixth deployment, 2004 
The Navy announced on 13 January 2004 that the George Washington Carrier Strike Group would depart for a "surge" deployment a week later. On 20 January GW, with CVW-3 embarked, deployed in support of the global war on terrorism.
George Washington made a port visit at Souda Bay, Crete beginning on 6 February through 10 February 2004. On 16 February, George Washington transited the Suez Canal and entered the Red Sea on 17 February.
On 20 February George Washington entered the Gulf of Aden and a week later was 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-12 laser-guided bombs on another enemy position in Fallujah, Iraq, on 9 April. This was the first live ordnance dropped by CVW-7 aircraft since George Washington deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
After being relieved by the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), the ship began her transit home, making a final port visit at Naples, Italy from 14–18 July. After traveling more than 51,000 nautical miles (94,000 km) and spending six months at sea, George Washington completed its sixth Mediterranean and Persian Gulf deployment and returned to Norfolk on 26 July.
On 28 January 2005 the ship entered shipyard for Drydocking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA). Many ship's systems were upgraded and maintenance was done to the hull. 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 CIWS mount and one Sea Sparrow launcher were removed and replaced with two Rolling Airframe Missile launchers. During the 11 months the ship was drydocked, the crew contributed 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 1 December 2005, the United States Navy announced that George Washington would replace USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) as the forward-deployed carrier at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan, becoming the first nuclear-powered surface warship permanently stationed outside the continental U.S. In an attempt to explain the carrier's mission to the Japanese public, the U.S. Navy printed a manga about life aboard GW, titled "CVN-73".
GW and CVW-17 left Norfolk on 4 April for a scheduled two-month deployment to operate as part of SOUTHCOM's "Partnership of the Americas". 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 14–17 April in St. Maarten, and Antigua from 15–18 May. GW returned to Norfolk on 24 May.
On 7 April 2008 George Washington, with CVW-17 and Carrier Strike Group 8 embarked, departed Norfolk, VA for the transit around South America where performed Gringo-Gaucho with the Argentine Naval Aviation, en route to Yokosuka, Japan to replace USS Kitty Hawk. After the planned turnover with Kitty Hawk at NS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, CVW-17 and Carrier Strike Group Eight were to return to their home ports in the U.S. to be replaced by Carrier Air Wing 5, based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, and Carrier Strike Group Five based at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan.
Transit and fire 
During the South American transit, the Washington Battle Group participated in U.S. Southern Command exercises Partnership of the Americas and Unitas, a joint military exercise between the United States, Brazilian and Argentine navies. On 22 April 2008, George Washington arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for her first port visit to that country. The ship transited the Strait of Magellan on 9–10 May.
On 22 May 2008, while the ship was off the Pacific Coast of South America, a fire occurred that injured 37 sailors. There were no fatalities. The Navy defined the incident as "serious". 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 ventilation ducting and caused extreme heat in some parts of the ship. It took over twelve hours for the ship's crew to contain and extinguish the fire. It was one of the largest non-combat fires aboard a U.S. Naval vessel since the devastating fire on board the USS Forrestal in 1967.
On 27 May, George Washington stopped at NAS North Island in San Diego, California for repairs. On 20 June, the Navy announced that the damage from the fire was more serious than previously thought, and that repairs would take at least until August and would cost $70 million. It was announced that the turnover with Kitty Hawk was postponed and would take place in San Diego instead of Hawaii.
On 13 July, 13,000 Japanese protested in Yokosuka against the basing of George Washington in Japan, saying that the onboard fire showed that the nuclear-powered carrier was unsafe. The U.S. Navy said that Rear Admiral James Kelly, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, would meet with Yokosuka Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya to fully explain the fire and what preventive measures the Navy would take.
A Navy investigation found that the fire was "entirely preventable" and was caused by unauthorized smoking in a room where 115 US gallons (440 L) of flammable refrigerant compressor oil was improperly stored. The room was 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 commanding officer started a program to remedy the team's training and performance in the month before the fire, the report concluded those efforts were insufficient. Admiral Robert Wilard noted in his investigation, "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." Overall, however, investigators praised the carrier's firefighters, especially the brave sailors who rescued four of their shipmates who were trapped in a room behind a wall of flames. “Many crew members ... displayed courage and resolve in fighting the fires,” Willard said. “Their actions exemplify our Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment.”
On 30 July 2008 Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, announced that Captain David C. Dykhoff had been relieved of his duties as Commanding Officer citing "a loss of confidence in his ability to command and his failure to meet mission requirements and readiness standards." Executive Officer Captain David M. Dober was also relieved for "substandard performance." Six other sailors were disciplined with non-judicial punishment. Four sailors were found guilty of violating a lawful order and hiding hazardous materials in direct violation of safety regulations. Two non-commissioned 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. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal was later awarded to Senior Chief Petty Officer Keith Hendrickson for leading a team that rescued four shipmates trapped by the fire deep in the interior of the ship.
On 21 August, under new skipper Captain J.R. Haley and executive officer Captain Karl O. Thomas, George Washington departed NAS North Island for Japan, with Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW 5) embarked. The carrier arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on 25 September 2008. Several hundred local proponents and protesters greeted the ship's arrival.
The ship sailed to Korea on 1 October and participated in that country's International Fleet Review. Afterwards, the carrier, accompanied by cruiser Cowpens and destroyer John S. McCain traveled to Guam, arriving on 31 October 2008. The George Washington Carrier Strike Group returned to Japan 21 November.
In June 2009 the Navy revealed that 15 of the carrier's sailors were being expelled from the service for use of illegal designer drugs. On 2 July 2009 George Washington, accompanied by USS Cowpens, anchored on Perth's Gage Roads. GW sailors visited Fremantle and the state capital Perth. Local brothels recruited extra staff to cope with the increase in business. Crew members volunteered to complete community projects including cleaning, maintenance, and painting at organizations including PMH, a Salvation Army rehabilitation center, Perth Zoo and Cohunu Koala Park. During mid-July, the ship was involved in Operation Talisman Sabre, off the coast of the Northern Territory, Australia.
From 2 to 6 August 2009, GW made a port call in Singapore where sailors enjoyed some R&R and participated in community relation projects such as painting and landscaping at a local community center, children's center, special education school and an association for the disabled.
In August 2009, the George Washington participated in the Indonesian Fleet Review, during Sail Bunaken 2009 event, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The parade of warships and tall ships from 40 nations include five of which belong to the George Washington Carrier Strike Group including George Washington, Cowpens, Mustin, McCampbell, and Fitzgerald. Carrier Airwing Five, currently embarked on George Washington, also participated with a multi-aircraft fly-by of the viewing station during the parade. The George Washington Carrier Strike Group returned to Japan 3 September for a maintenance upkeep period prior to her second fall patrol.
On 21 July 2010, George Washington arrived in Busan, South Korea for a port visit and then participated in exercise Invincible Spirit in the Sea of Japan with the USAF, Republic of Korea Air Force and Republic of Korea Navy from 25 to 28 July 2010. Invincible Spirit was staged to improve combined operations capability and as a show of deterrence following the ROKS Cheonan sinking. The exercise was conducted in the Sea of Japan to placate China's objections to military exercises being conducted in the Yellow Sea but due in part to those objections a second exercise, which would take place in the Yellow Sea on the west coast of North Korea, is being planned.
On 8 August 2010, George Washington arrived and stopped off of the coast of Da Nang City in the South China Sea to celebrate the 15th anniversary of normalization of Vietnam-US diplomatic relations. This is the first time a U.S. aircraft carrier has visited Vietnam since the Vietnam War.
In November 2010, the George Washington carrier group departed for planned exercises with the Republic of Korea Navy, partially in response to the shelling of Yeonpyeong and increased tension with North Korea.
This ship was one of several participating in disaster relief after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The George Washington, while docked for maintenance in Yokosuka, detected radiation from the Fukushima I nuclear accidents. It then was ordered to leave port before scheduled, with a smaller than normal crew, to avoid the radioactive plume. Because of the lack of crew, the warship was unable to continue to provide aid. While at sea, the carrier made two visits to United States Fleet Activities Sasebo to exchange crewmembers and take on maintenance equipment. The ship returned to its berth at Yokosuka on 20 April 2011.
After redeploying on another training cruise, a 25 September 2011 video from the carrier uploaded to YouTube became a viral hit. In the video, two flight deck crewmen are almost hit by a landing F/A-18, which is waved-off shortly before landing on the deck where the crewmen are walking.
On 22 November 2011, the George Washington returned to Japan to conclude the 2011 patrol of its area of responsibility. The patrol consisted of four port visits and two major exercises while cruising more than 50,000 nautical miles across the western Pacific Ocean.
During George Washington deployment, the aircraft carrier participated in joint training exercises with other service branches, and regional partners, visited three Asia-Pacific nations to practice interoperability, and conducted dual carrier operations with USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).
As of 2 January 2013, the George Washington was still in active service. On 8 February 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that the scheduled mid-life complex overhaul for the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) will be postponed pending the resolution of the upcoming budget sequestration. This budget shortfall will not only affect the Lincoln's refueling of her nuclear propulsion plant, but it will also delay the next scheduled mid-life complex overhaul involving the George Washington forward-based in Yokosuka, Japan, as well as the de-fueling of the recently deactivated USS Enterprise (CVN-65).
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- "USS George Washington Stops in San Diego to Repair Fire Damage". SanDiego6. 27 May 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2008.[dead link]
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- "Brothels put on staff for US navy". 3 July 2009.
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- "Photo gallery 2009". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- USS GW Official Website "Indonesian Fleet Review 2009", 18 August 2009.
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- Seawaves,"Warships Supporting Earthquake in Japan"
- Radiation levels drop at Japanese plant
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- Congressional Budget Office, "Reducing the Deficit: Spending and Revenue Options", p. 106.
- Slavin, Erik, "Sailors won't face discipline for close call with fighter jet, Navy says", Stars and Stripes, 6 October 2011.
- "http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2012/11/mil-121120-nns02.htm". globalsecurity.org. 20 November 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "Navy delays overhaul of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, citing budget concerns". Associated Press. Washington Post. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-10. and "Lack of Funding Affects USS Lincoln Refueling and Complex Overhaul". NNS130208-17. Defense Media Activity - Navy. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: USS George Washington (CVN-73)|
- USS George Washington official website
- Story Archive – U.S. Navy – USS George Washington (CVN-73)
- USS George Washington at Navysite.de webpage
- JapanBases #1 Informational Community Website
- Maritimequest USS George Washington CVN-73 Photo Gallery
- USS George Washington history at U.S. Carriers
- Commander Carrier Strike Group Five / Commander Task Force Seventy / Commander Battle Force Seventh Fleet Official Website
- USS George Washington (CVN-73) command histories – Naval History & Heritage Command