MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) completed a successful port visit aboard Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Feb. 11-14.
Prior to arriving in Mayport, George H.W. Bush, the flagship of the GHWB Strike Group, finished its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
The exercise is designed to test the ship's ability to accomplish its mission by simulating real-world events and monitoring reactions to multiple scenarios.
During the three-day port visit to the Jacksonville area, George H.W. Bush Sailors found different ways to take a break from the hectic underway routine.
Some chose to participate in one of the many entertainment options made available to them by the ships Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department, which included trips to Walt Disney World and the Daytona International Speedway. In all, more than 750 tickets to various events were sold through the ship's MWR office.
Among those traveling with MWR to the race in Daytona, was Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Drevon L. Thompson, who attended a NASCAR race for the first time.
"It was something different, something new. I really liked it," said Thompson.
Others preferred a laid-back night out with friends.
"We went out and got some food, saw some movies, just everyday stuff you do back home," said Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Andrew H. Masters.
One Sailor in particular took advantage of his time off by spending it with family who lived in the area.
"I got to spend quality time with my daughter. It was great," said Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Erik Salgado.
A group of 23 Sailors spent four hours digging up grass and smoothing soil on the grounds of the Florida Baptist Children's Home, Feb. 12.
"Having volunteers is absolutely critical, and we wouldn't be able to keep up the property grounds or the children's home itself without volunteers," said Luther Scarboro, Florida Baptist Children's Home director of maintenance.
"What a great visit," said Naval Station Mayport Command Master Chief (SW/AW) David L. Anderson. "The crew conducted themselves with pride and professionalism, and were not only great ambassadors for the ship, but for our Navy too."
At the conclusion of the port visit, George H.W. Bush got underway for the final phase of its pre-deployment training, Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX). JTFEX simulates the integration of the George H.W. Bush and other Strike Group ships into a joint task force and tests their ability to operate effectively with other military forces.
During JTFEX, George H.W. Bush and the strike group will have their combat readiness evaluated by Strike Force Training Group Atlantic (SFTL). Following certification by 2nd Fleet, USS George H.W. Bush expects to depart on its initial combat deployment in the spring 2011.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.