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
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
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 --
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
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.