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Wed, Dec 31, 2008

Navy To Commission Aircraft Carrier George H.W. Bush

Ceremony To Be Held January 10

The Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) will be commissioned Saturday, January 10 during an 11:00 am EST ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, VA.

President George W. Bush (right) will deliver the principal address. Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, daughter of the ship's namesake, is the ship's sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

The last Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is named to honor World War II naval aviator and America's 41st president George H. W. Bush. Born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, MA, Bush began a lifetime of service to America when he joined the Navy on his 18th birthday as a seaman. He became the youngest pilot in the Navy at the time, receiving his commission and naval aviator wings before his 19th birthday.

Bush flew the Avenger torpedo bomber in combat from the carrier USS San Jacinto. During an attack on enemy installations near Chichi Jima in September 1944, his plane was hit by enemy fire while making a bombing run. Although the plane was on fire and heavily damaged, he completed a strafing run on the target before bailing out of the doomed aircraft. Bush parachuted into the sea and was later rescued by the Navy submarine USS Finback. He was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for his Navy service in the Pacific theater during World War II.

Capt. Kevin O'Flaherty, from Los Angeles, CA and a 1981 Naval Academy graduate, will become the ship's first commanding officer, leading a crew of more than 5,500 men and women, including embarked air wing personnel. George H. W. Bush will be initially homeported in Norfolk, VA assigned to the US Atlantic Fleet.

Construction of the tenth Nimitz-class ship took place at Northrop Grumman-Newport News, VA starting with the ship's keel laying September 6, 2003, and christening October 7, 2006.

The George H. W. Bush towers 20 stories above the waterline, displaces approximately 95,000 tons of water, has a flight deck width of 252 feet, and at 1,092 feet long, is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall. The floating airfield has a flight deck that covers 4.5 acres (the similar Nimitz-class George Washington is shown below -- Ed.)

Bush's two nuclear reactors are capable of more than 20 years of continuous service without refueling, providing virtually unlimited range and endurance, and a top speed in excess of 30 knots.

The ship will support a wide variety of aircraft, including the F/A-18C Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters, the E-2C/D Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning aircraft, the C-2 Greyhound logistics aircraft, the EA-6B Prowler and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, multi-role SH-60 and MH-60 helicopters, and other future carrier-based aircraft.

FMI: Click Here For Information About The Nimitz Class

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