George Washington Returns to Busan, Republic of Korea
BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) arrived in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK) June 27, for a port visit to foster relations with a longstanding ally of the United States.
Welcomed on the pier by ROK military members and the ROK Navy Band, George Washington made its first port call of its 2012 patrol and its fourth visit to Busan in five years.
"This week is more than just a port visit. We're here to demonstrate our commitment to a longstanding ally in the western Pacific," said Capt. David A. Lausman, George Washington's commanding officer. "The U.S. Navy is committed to helping enhance the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and our forward presence activities and engagements in this region strengthen our alliances and partnerships."
After introductions, Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, Commander, Task Force 70; accompanied by Rear Adm. William McQuilkin, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea; and Lausman provided brief remarks during a news conference with more than 30 local, regional, and international journalists.
"We always receive a very strong and warm welcome in Busan, and that is indicative of the strong and enduring relationship between our two nations, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America," said McQuilken.
The press conference was followed by a media tour of the ship to include stops in the hangar bay, Navigation Bridge and an elevator ride to the flight deck to view the aircraft of George Washington's embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5.
During the three-day port visit, George Washington will open its hangar bay doors to over 800 guests for tours as well as a reception for distinguished visitors. While ROK guests tour the ship, George Washington Sailors will get a chance to take in the sites of Busan and see just what the city has to offer through nine different tours coordinated by the aircraft carrier's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation team.
"The tours offer the crew time to unwind and at the same time, it gives them an opportunity to see the true culture of our foreign friends," said Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Mattie Hackney.
Sightseeing isn't the only option for Sailors in Busan. George Washington's Command Religious Ministries Department is also offering the crew a chance to participate in nine community service projects, an opportunity that will allow them to integrate with local nationals and experience customs and traditions from the surrounding area.
"We are very excited this year because we will have two projects where George Washington Sailors will get the opportunity to volunteer alongside ROK Sailors," said Cmdr. Brian Haley, George Washington's command chaplain. "This gives the Sailors a chance to get to know one another and provides teamwork between the nations, as well as a sense of partnership between the two countries."
George Washington departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka on May 26 to begin its 2012 patrol. Scheduled port visits in the Asia-Pacific region allow George Washington and CVW 5 to build confidence and trust among partner nations through collective efforts that focus on mutual interests.