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Visit to the USS George Washington, 3rd April 2010

Visit to the USS George Washington Yokosuka Naval Base 3rd April 2010

On Saturday April 3, Members of the C&O were invited by Former US naval officer, Lieutenant Commander Edmond Aruffo (Hughes Hall, Cantab.), for a tour of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington, based at Yokosuka Naval Base.
Thirty-three members of the Society attended the tour. As with the previous tour of the USS Blue Ridge, we were lucky with the weather and enjoyed blue skies and sunshine. After passing through the entry gate, a strong 'listen up!!!!' from Edmond brought the party to attention, and we moved off to board a bus taking us to the ship.
George Washington 2010 - Image 1George Washington 2010 - Image 1
We were met by CO Captain Dave "Too Tall" Lausman and XO Dan Grieco, who explained some US military protocol, particularly don’t touch anything, twiddle any knobs or press any buttons. And definitely not the big red ones marked 'Launch'. The ship certainly got everyone’s attention. Enormous, 300 meters long apparently.

We went on board the ship and climbed up to the cavernous hanger deck, which was being renovated. Captain Lausman introduced some of his crew, and explained about the design and activities of the ship.
George Washington 2010 - Image 3George Washington 2010 - Image 3 We then climbed up to the flight deck for a detailed look at all the specialized equipment to launch and land aircraft. We had a run-through of how the steam catapult, jet blast deflector and aircraft brake cables (what are these called?) operated. And we were able to look over a retired Navy Hornet Jet on the deck, which had mysteriously been assigned to XO Dan Grieco.
George Washington 2010 - Image 2George Washington 2010 - Image 2 We peered down at one of the six huge aircraft elevators with only a small cable to keep us back. Looked as though it could be pretty scary in bad weather.
After returning to the hanger deck we were able to purchase some souvenirs, such as baseball caps, and various coins and glasses with naval insignia. We bade farewell to the ship and its crew and boarded the bus to move onto the Officer's mess.
We started the evening's proceedings with drinks in the Kurofune Lounge. The party then moved on to the Kosano Ball Room, Commissioned Officer's Mess for a buffet dinner. This was very well received by all, particularly the huge roast beef portions provided. You could certainly tell we had arrived in a little corner of America. At the end of the evening we were escorted off base in three groups for the train home.
An excellent day out, and our thanks to Edmond and all the officers and crew of the USS George Washington for making our visit such a success.
George Washington 2010 - Image 4George Washington 2010 - Image 4

Huw Williams, Clare College Cambridge 1980
Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Sat, 2010-04-03 05:00.
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