By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro, USS George Washington Public Affairs
SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), hosted a "welcome" reception for local guests while anchored in Sasebo harbor, August 1.
During the reception, Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force U.S. 7th Fleet, and Capt. Greg Fenton, George Washington's commanding officer, welcomed Vice Adm. Ikeda Tokuhiro, commander-in-chief of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), among other guests and highlighted the continuing partnership between the U.S. and Japan.
"I greatly appreciate the hospitality of everyone on board George Washington for inviting me to this occasion," said Tokuhiro. "The U.S. and Japan have maintained a very close relationship and I'm happy we have this great opportunity to celebrate with one another."
George Washington's hangar bay set the stage for allied friendship and interoperability between the U.S. Navy and JMSDF. Gigantic draped flags from both nations served as backdrops along with two static F/A-18 Super Hornets to symbolize the U.S. longstanding commitment to providing security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
"Our port visit to Sasebo and this reception present a wonderful opportunity to further the ties between the United States and Japan," said Fenton.
Guests were treated to food prepared by George Washington's culinary specialists and a presentation by the ship's color guard as they performed on an aircraft elevator in front of an EA-18G Growler from the "Shadowhawks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141.
"I would like to give a special thanks to the ship's color guard for providing a wonderful performance on our first night in Sasebo," said Fenton. "This is the ship's first return to Sasebo in almost three years and I can think of no better way to mark the occasion than tonight's celebration."
Montgomery provided concluding remarks during the ceremony, celebrating the bi-lateral partnership between the two nations.
"I can't speak more passionately of the great relationship between our two navies," said Montgomery. "I really want to thank the people of Japan for allowing us to live in Yokosuka and Atsugi and conduct our operations. It's a great honor."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.