PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Government representatives from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) visited the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), July 5.
The representatives visited the ship to receive a general orientation of an underway aircraft carrier and to better understand George Washington's strategic mission in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
"We really appreciate the efforts that the Northern Mariana Islands have made to provide a training environment for the U.S. Navy," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "Training and operations in the Marianas contribute to relationship development and enhanced interoperability."
Ralph Torres, president of the Senate of Saipan, and Ramon De La Cruz, mayor of Tinian were among 14 distinguished visitors who spent the day aboard George Washington.
"I hope our visitors take back with them a sense of what their Navy and Sailors do here on a day-to-day basis for the United States and its regional partners," said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, George Washington's executive officer.
Located in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, the Mariana Islands play a vital role in the Navy's training and mission readiness.
"We're in the Marianas a lot," said Montgomery. "One of our ships is currently in Saipan and we've also had four ships near Guam in the past week. Most of the ships come about three or four times a year to operate and for port visits. We enjoy this area for training and for recreation."
The U.S. Navy's presence in the water of the Marianas provides safety and security for the islands.
"Watching all of the Sailors work together to launch aircraft gives us comfort that our military and Navy are well organized," said Torres. "The Marianas is composed of 14 different islands surrounded by a vast sea; to have our Navy train in our waters gives us a sense of security."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, 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 Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.