By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Erin Devenberg, USS George Washington Public Affairs
USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, at sea (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) returned to sea, departing her forward-operating port of Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka to commence Sea Trials, June 5.
"Sea trials are where we put the past six months of maintenance to the test," said the ship's Commanding Officer, Capt. David Lausman. "The crew worked extremely hard to make this warship the best in the Navy and I have no doubt our Sea Trials will be a success."
Since December of last year, George Washington's crew completed approximately 20,000 maintenance jobs totaling more than 500,000 man hours of work.
"Sea Trials validate work has been completed properly and that systems are fully operational to meet mission requirements," said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Serveas, George Washington's nuclear power limited duty officer (SWO).
Within the first hour of pulling out of port, George Washington's Air department was in the Sea Trials spotlight running drills after drill looking for the smallest deficiency.
On the flight deck and in the hangar bay, the ship's Countermeasure Wash Down Systems was tested. With a mixture of sea water and Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF), the Countermeasure Wash Down System is used to remove chemical, radiological, and biological contaminants from the surface of the ship in the event of an attack.
"This sea trial period is mostly for topside work; combat systems, aircraft catapults, recovery systems, damage control systems," said Serveas. "These systems are being tested during this underway period because they could not be tested in port due to various limitations and restrictions."
Among the many systems being checked is the ship's arresting gear for incoming aircraft. If it's not operating properly, the result could be disastrous. But just as important as equipment, the crew is also getting additional training during Sea Trials.
"We have to anticipate the weight of an aircraft when it lands so that we can set the arresting gear for each aircraft's own weight," said Interior Communication Electrician Fireman Suzy Laughing from Ganado, Ariz. "It's to ensure the right amount of pressure as the aircraft lands to prevent any damage to the plane or injury to the crew."
"We are returning to sea with numerous upgrades to our capability, but it's our crew, the men and women who serve aboard this mighty warship; they are our real secret weapon. They are what make George Washington special," said Lausman.
George Washington's mission is to ensure security and stability in the Western Pacific and to be in position to work with our allies and regional partners to respond to any crisis across the operational spectrum as directed.