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Strengthening Partnerships, Recreating History: George H.W. Bush Sails Alongside Amerigo Vespucci

04 September 2022

From USS George H. W. Bush Public Affairs

On July 12, 1962, the Forrestal-class aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVA 62) operated in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations when it sailed past the ITS Amerigo Vespucci in the Mediterranean Sea.

Just more than sixty years later, Amerigo Vespucci recreated the moment with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in the Adriatic Sea, Sep. 1, 2022.

“This was an amazing opportunity to honor and reinforce the partnership between our two navies, our countries, and the legacy of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers in maritime diplomacy,” said Capt. David-Tavis Pollard, commanding officer of George H.W. Bush. “The Avengers are warriors who are the teachers, leaders, and ambassadors of America. We are honored to represent our families, hometowns, states and the nation abroad.”

According to Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) website, when Independence encountered the full-rigged ship in 1962, the carrier signaled to ask the vessel to identify itself, "training ship Amerigo Vespucci, Italian Navy," was the response.

The Independence reportedly signaled back, "You are the most beautiful ship in the world.”

An old black and white photo highlighted by NHHC in recent years, as well as on the Amerigo Vespucci’s website, marks the encounter six decades ago.

“I am grateful to USS George H.W. Bush and the whole US Navy for accepting my invitation to recreate history after 60 years, celebrating the anniversary of the sail past between USS Independence and ITS Amerigo Vespucci, that delivered the iconic label of ‘the world's most beautiful ship’ to the vessel that I have the privilege to command,” said Italian Navy Capt. Max Siragusa, commanding officer of Amerigo Vespucci. “This ship brought me to U.S. for the first time in my life in 1992, as a midshipman; six years later I had the opportunity to work for two weeks on board USS Abraham Lincoln, deployed in the Persian Gulf, while performing a one year Personnel Exchange Program with the US Navy; today, in my last fortnight of Command at Sea I am delighted to put together three significant chapters of my professional life.”

When George H.W. Bush hailed Amerigo Vespucci she replied, “This is Italian Navy Ship Amerigo Vespucci, senior national vessel in active duty.”

George H.W. Bush replied, “Amerigo Vespucci, you are still the most beautiful ship in the world!”

Vespucci responded, “We are flattered and with you and the Avenger team fair winds and following seas for your deployment. May your ceiling and visibility remain unlimited.”

Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, George H.W. Bush CSG, is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

George H.W. Bush is the flagship of CSG-10 and the George H.W. Bush CSG. CSG-10 is comprised of George H.W. Bush, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, the Information Warfare Commander, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).

The ships of DESRON 26 within CSG-10 are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), and USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119).

The squadrons of CVW-7 embarked aboard George H.W. Bush are the “Jolly Rogers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, the “Pukin Dogs” of VFA-143, the “Bluetails” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, the “Nightdippers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, the “Sidewinders” of VFA-86, the “Nighthawks” of VFA-136, the “Patriots” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 140, and the “Grandmasters” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46.

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.


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