ABOARD USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- During a recent visit to the aircraft carrier that bears his name, former President George H.W. Bush had a message for those Sailors who had served as individual augmentees (IA): "Thank you for your service."
Bush visited USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) while at sea July 14-15. During his visit, he toured the ship, watched flight deck operations, and reenlisted nearly 60 Sailors. At the reenlistment ceremony, Bush took the time to specially recognize the Sailors who had served as IA's.
Bush made a point to meet with the IA Sailors who lined a red carpet, and one Sailor in particular had a unique interaction with the president.
"I was shocked when he came up to me," said Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Serena Simpson, an IA who served at Camp Virginia, Kuwait, processing service members travel orders and leave papers.
After shaking her hand, she said the former president asked her to walk with him down the red carpet.
"I was very excited, and I was glad that I was able to take the time to help him out; he needed a shoulder to lean on," the Chickamauga, Ga., native said.
During a speech to the crew, Bush expressed his appreciation for their work around the world.
"To the IA's: I'm so proud of you all, for your service here and abroad," said Bush during an all-hands call.
Each of the ship's IA's also receives letters and photos personally signed by the former president and his daughter, Doro Bush Koch, the ship's sponsor.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.