USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) departed Malaysia after a routine, four-day port visit, Oct. 11.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier hosted thousands of Malaysian visitors during its brief stay in Port Klang, Malaysia; George Washington Sailors also participated in several community outreach projects in and around Kuala Lumpur in an effort to strengthen relations with the Malaysian people.
"I could not be more pleased with the overall success of this visit," said Capt. G.J. Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer. "Our partners in the Malaysian Armed Forces recognize that the knowledge, professionalism and efficiency of the Sailors aboard George Washington directly contribute to peace, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region. We are truly fortunate that we could visit such a beautiful country with such a diverse, in-depth culture so that we could strengthen our partnership with the people of Malaysia."
George Washington kicked off the port visit with a welcome reception, hosting more than 600 visitors from the Malaysian Armed Forces, local and national business and civic leaders, and members of the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia.
"We conduct these receptions to allow our Sailors to venture out of their comfort zone and intermingle with the host nation," said Fenton. "To see one of my Sailors shaking hands with a Malaysian sailor while they share a friendly conversation makes me proud, as well as confident that George Washington's visit to Malaysia was a positive one that will be remembered by both our nations."
George Washington hosted several tours aboard the ship, welcoming members of the general public to view the ship's hangar bay, flight deck and navigation bridge. The ship also hosted a safety and medical exchange with several Malaysian medical personnel.
"[The medical exchange] allowed us to show our Malaysian counterparts what we do," said Lt. Dustin Porter, from Tyler, Texas, one of George Washington's doctors. "We showed them all of our facilities and equipment, including our treatment room, our capabilities in regards to radiology and laboratory facilities, and our wards. I think they can see what kind of capabilities we have and get a better respect for what we do."
George Washington's visit to Malaysia, besides securing relations with the Malaysian people, served as a well-deserved respite for the crew; George Washington Sailors had the option to participate in one of the 10 cultural tours sponsored by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation division.
"As wonderful as the food and the people were, what blew me away about Malaysia was the subtle mix of historical [religious] temple and sites mixed into a modernized city," said Aerographer's Mate Airman Kristena Schildt, from Deming, Wash. "You don't really recognize how truly diverse a nation's culture is until you come off the brow and explore. I don't know what I expected when I first set foot on Malaysian soil but I got so much out of my visit."
This marked George Washington's first visit to Malaysia since relieving the now-decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) in 2008.
"My Sailors always look forward to visiting new places and meeting new people, and Malaysia was no exception," said Fenton. "Through basic everyday interactions, we consistently increase our combined interoperability and understanding that are vital in maintaining the bond of friendship between our two nations."
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 partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.