NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) welcomed aboard the Australian ambassador to the United States on April 1, for a visit with the ship and crew.
His Excellency Ambassador Dennis Richardson said the visit to Truman was his first aboard an aircraft carrier and it was an eye-opening experience which allowed him to see firsthand the capabilities of the U.S. Navy.
"I'm taking away a much better personal understanding of a carrier strike group," Richardson said. "I'm aware that carrier strike groups are an essential part of the capacity for the U.S. to project power globally, and the capacity of the U.S. to project power globally is important for all countries such as Australia."
Rear Adm. William Gortney, Commander Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, said giving one of the United States' closest allies a chance to have a better understanding of our capabilities further fosters relationships between the two countries.
"Australia is a critical ally to us," Gortney said. "Visits like this give us a better understanding of each other. Anytime we can meet and exchange information, and look each other in the eyes it's a better understanding and a win-win situation."
April 6, marks the 90th anniversary of the U.S. and Australia's allegiance, according to Richardson. Since then, he said the United States and Australia have banded together for every major battle.
Commodore Gerald Christian, Royal Australian Navy attache, joined Richardson for the 24-hour embark and agreed the overall feeling of the ship was one of focus and enthusiasm.
"I've done a lot of sea time. I just enjoy the vibrancy of the ship as it's working up. You can see how the individual team training is coming through the departmental training and is slowly coming together as a collective ship," Christian said. "You can also see the overlay of the task group over that and I think the feeling I get as I go around, and the attitude of the people, is that they are all focused and they know what they have to do to prepare for war."
Christian and Richardson visited Truman as part of the Distinguished Visitor program. Although the program regularly welcomes dignitaries and foreign nationals, its main purpose is to give Americans an inside look at a U.S. aircraft carrier and her Sailors.
"The importance of this program is that it shows people from all over the U.S. -- businessmen, people in government, mom and pop what the U.S. Navy does on a daily basis," said Capt. Herman Shelanski, Truman's commanding officer. "As a tax payer, it's [eye-opening] to come out and see what you're spending your money on and what it's going to."
He said even more important than coming out to see the carrier, visitors have a chance to see the Truman Sailors.
"Our guests come out here without any preconceived ideas of who a typical Sailor is," Shelanski said. "A typical Sailor is a 19- to 25-year-old, patriotic young American, who loves their job and loves their country. They are working hard, they study, they conform and they are enthusiastic... To a person, it makes them feel a lot better about our country, about who is actually defending it and about the quality of America."
The ship is currently undergoing a 25-day underway period to complete Tailored Ship's Training Availability, an assessment grading the ship on warfighting skills and tactical decision-making. The ship is also conducting cyclic flight operations with Carrier Air Wing 3.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) visit their Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.