As soon as I received an email containing an invitation to a reception onboard the USS George Washington, I was ecstatic! I did not want to miss the rare opportunity. Most of all, it was an honor to be able to meet the honourable men and women of the U.S. Navy. I also knew that 20% of the ship’s crew are of filipino-descent.
Knowing that they took the time to visit Manila just showed that the United States is committed to us, Filipinos, and is a strong ally.
For some reason, typhoon Ofel came at the same time, rain was pouring so hard the whole night. I was soaking wet because I forgot to bring my umbrella with me. I braved the rain as I didn’t wanna miss the opportunity! I arrived at SM Mall of Asia Fleet Deck at exactly 4:30PM. I went in queue together with hundreds of guests eagerly anticipating what was ahead.
We went aboard the Glenn Bataan Belize for a 45-minute boat-ride to USS George Washington.
I looked around and observed that most guests were either embassy officials, expats, police officials, businessmen or media men. It was at that moment, I felt how blessed I am to be given an invite. While I was alone, I did meet some wonderful people in the USS George Washington reception event.
As we were nearing the ship, I peaked outside and saw the number ’73’. I knew then that it was USS George Washington (CVN 73). My excitement grew! I really was going to the ship and experience being there for the 2-hour reception!
USS George Washington (CVN 73) is a U.S. Navy ship named after the first president of the Unites States. It is a nuclear-powered super carrier and the sixth ship in the Nimitz class. It was built by Newport News Shipbuilding, sponsored by Barbara Bush and was commissioned July 4, 1992.
While I admired all the different parts of the ship, all I could think of was how honorable the men and women that comprise the USS George Washington are.
The reception was a social event. As for me, I went around the room taking pictures, smiling at everyone, thanking the U.S. Navy and eating (hehe!).
The cake which looked like the USS George Washington CVN-73 was an awesome sight. It was located at the stage where the program was held.
Commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet Rear Admiral John R. Haley, Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr. and Captain Greg Fenton were among the speakers that night.
Guests bought souvenirs to bring home for their loved ones.
There were caps, jackets and shirts for sale with ship’s name in it.
The ship was named after George Washington, one of the founding fathers of the United States. He became the first president of the United States and served from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797.
On the floor were what looked like the USS George Washington CVN 73 insignia. It has a profile of George Washington and the ship’s motto, “The Spirit of Freedom”.
The ship is huge! It has a length of 1,092 feet and a height of 244 feet. There are over 2,500 compartments on board, and requiring 2,520 tons of air conditioning (which is equivalent to roughly powering 2,00 homes. (source: http://www.military.cz/usa/navy/uss/carriers/washington/washington_en.htm).
USS George Washington can accommodate around 80 aircraft and has a flight deck of 4.5 acres, using four elevators to move planes between the flight deck and the hangar bay.
George Washington and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region (including our country, the Philippines).
This has got to be one of the unforgettable experiences for me. I thank each and every member of the USS George Washington for all the things you’ve done for the country and for the world! *salute*
USS George Washington (CVN 73)
Official Site: http://www.gw.navy.mil/index.html
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/USS-George-Washington-CVN-73/177732872397