Sunday, May 24, 2009
* Image Source/ Description
“Above, Sailors on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) wave goodbye to loved ones as the ship departs Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) for a scheduled underway.
Below, the carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) departs Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) for a scheduled underway. (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Barry Hirayama/Released)”
USS George Washington, Air Wing Conduct Efficiency Evaluation
By George Washington Public Affairs, Posted: May 21, 2009
YOKOSUKA, Japan — USS George Washington (CVN 73), with nearly 5,000 Sailors, departed its forward-deployed port of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Wed., May 20, to conduct its Combat Operations Efficiency evaluation in the Western Pacific.
The ship and crew, along with Sailors from embarked Carrier Airwing (CVW) 5, are now underway to conduct advanced cyclic flight operations to return the ship to full combat readiness following its first Selective Restricted Availability which wrapped up earlier in May.
“COE measures our ability to land and recover aircraft with certain efficiency according to Navy-wide operational standards,” said Cmdr. Vincent Aiello, CVW-5’s operations officer.
Aiello said that COE certification is an important milestone, because it proves that the ship and Airwing team meets established criteria of efficiency and safety during aircraft launch and recovery operations. Successful completion of COE would allow CVW-5 and GW to fly over open ocean, without the requirement for a divert airfield if operationally necessary.
Aiello added that the air wing also expects to conduct some air-to-ground strike training while at sea. He said this is a good test of the ship and air wing’s ability to handle weapons, load them onto aircraft, and employ them on overland targets.
Commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman, GW is the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group, commanded by Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan and comprised of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, and guided missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).
CVW-5, commanded by Capt. Michael S. White, has operated from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan since 1973, and is the Navy’s only for¬ward-deployed, co-located air wing. CVW-5 has called GW home since the aircraft carrier’s arrival in Japan last September when it replaced the recently decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk as the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier.
GW heads back to sea just days after completing several other significant milestones. The ship returned to Fleet Activities Yokosuka May 15 after ten days at sea, during which the ship completed sea trials, flight deck certification and carrier qualifications.
Following the Combat Operations Efficiency evaluation, George Washington expects to conduct its first annual summer deployment supporting security and stability in the western Pacific region."