EAST CHINA SEA (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) departed Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, with its crew, friends and family members for a scheduled four-day "Tiger Cruise," after a goodwill port visit, Aug. 4.
George Washington and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 arrived in Sasebo, Aug. 1, where Tiger Cruise participants joined George Washington for the carrier's transit to its forward-deployed location at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.
"I would like to personally welcome aboard all of our "Tigers" for our journey back to Yokosuka," said Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer. "This presents a great opportunity for them to see the carrier in action and get a greater sense of what George Washington Sailors accomplish on a daily basis."
During George Washington's stay in Sasebo, Sailors reunited with their "Tigers" and were able to explore Sasebo through a variety of tours offered by Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and participate in three community relations (COMREL) projects, including a visit to Kainan-so Nursing Home.
"Today's COMREL gave us an opportunity to really connect with the older generation," said Lt. Allan Bushnell, staff chaplain, destroyer squadron 15. "Especially here in Sasebo, a place we consider home here in Japan. It was really fun that we were able to do something in an area that has meant so much to the U.S. Navy."
George Washington hosted ship tours for more than 500 Sasebo natives during its three-day in-port period, as well as a welcome reception to commemorate the ship's first return to Sasebo in almost three years.
"Our port visit to Sasebo gave us a wonderful opportunity to further the ties between the United States and Japan, and bring aboard our "Tigers" for what's sure to be a memorable cruise," said Fenton.
Activities scheduled for the Tiger Cruise include a sea and air power demonstration, ship tours, and damage control demonstrations that incorporate live fire hose and pipe patching drills to give the friends and family members a taste of life aboard a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
"I'm incredibly excited to be able to join George Washington and spend time with my nephew [Quartermaster 2nd Class William Gillaspie]," said Bob Gillaspie, a "tiger" from Las Vegas. "I'm really looking forward to observing flight operations and I'm sure my time spent on board will be an unforgettable experience."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests 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/.