YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- After a short but eventful three-week period out at sea, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) returned to its forward deployed operating port of Yokosuka, Japan, Dec. 14.
While underway, George Washington participated in an exercise in the waters west of the Korean peninsula with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and in the Pacific Ocean with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) as part of the exercise Keen Sword 2011.
"Our crew has done an outstanding job during this patrol which began almost seven months ago in May (2010)," said Capt. David Lausman, commanding officer of George Washington. "During that time, we've traveled more then 50,000 nautical miles across the western Pacific, and I know this region is safer and more secure today because of their service."
George Washington participated in other naval exercises during the 2010 annual patrol including exercise Invincible Spirit with the ROK Navy, undersea warfare exercise with the JMSDF, which focused on the coordination of anti-submarine warfare, and the joint military exercise Valiant Shield, which was conducted to train the participants on various areas including maritime interdiction, intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance and personnel recovery.
The flight deck of the carrier was an extremely busy place during the 2010 patrol with 8,351 launches and recoveries. To keep those planes flying, the air wing used 16,125, 000 gallons of fuel. The Supply Department made 1.8 million meals with food they brought aboard during 34 separate replenishment-at-sea. The Supply Department also cleaned 365,000 pounds of laundry and kept the crew looking sharp with 22,000 haircuts.
The ship's Medical Department was responsible for assisting 9,485 patients, administering 10,354 immunizations and collecting 424 units of blood during a command blood drive.
The size of George Washington's crew increased by 22 U.S. citizens during the annual patrol as the Legal Department naturalized more than three dozen Sailors as new U.S. citizens.
"In some countries people are not allowed to speak about certain things, but now I am an American, and I can defend my country and use my freedom of speech whenever I want," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Jian Xu, one of the proud new Americans.
In 2010, George Washington visited Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. In these ports, more than 7,000 people had the chance to get a firsthand look at the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier.
"It was a great opportunity for both the citizens to see what we do and for our own Sailors to showcase their pride we all share in this warship," said Chief Master-at-Arms Raymond Wendt, one of the ship's tour guides in the Philippines. "It helps you appreciate the ship even more by seeing the excitement in the tourist's faces."
Despite being in port, George Washington's role is to remain vigilant as the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, always ready to execute its next set of orders.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.