By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Clemente A. Lynch, USS George Washington Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Takashi Shima, a Japanese painter and photographer, from Wakayama Prefecture, visited Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and presented a watercolor painting to the ship, April 27.
Capt. Timothy Kuehhas, George Washington's commanding officer, accepted the painting depicting the ship operating at sea on behalf of the more than 3,300 ship's company.
"It's an honor to receive such a precious gift," said Kuehhas. "This present speaks to the continued alliance and growing relationship we share with the Japanese people. I would like to thank Mr. Shima for sharing his culture and talent with the Sailors aboard George Washington."
Shima set foot onto the ship's 1092-foot long flight deck, a place he envisioned and brought to life on canvas for three months.
"Painting [George Washington] was a challenge without seeing it first," said Shima. "I've always had the idea to paint USS George Washington, but since I live far away it was hard to make arrangements to get here. It feels like a dream to walk on a ship I've already painted."
Shima previously created and presented paintings to the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and Marines stationed at Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan, for their efforts during Operation Tomodachi.
Shima wanted to extend a similar token of gratitude to George Washington for the crew's contributions to peace and stability in the region.
"As a representative of the local people of Japan, I wanted to come by and offer a token of our appreciation for the hard work of 7th Fleet and George Washington," said Shima. "Because of the 7th Fleet and ships like George Washington, Japan can enjoy peace and prosperity."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.