By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Shayla D. Hamilton,
USS George Washington Public Affairs
BRISBANE, Australia (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) arrived in Brisbane, Australia for a six-day goodwill port visit, June 19.
Crewmembers will have a chance to tour the area, shop, enjoy liberty, and interact with Australian natives while conducting community relations (COMREL) projects and participating in sporting events.
"My crew and I are excited to be here," said Capt. Timothy Kuehhas, George Washington's commanding officer. "We look forward to seeing and learning about the culture in Brisbane and Gold Coast. I am looking forward to our crew being actively engaged in a series of COMRELs, and getting some well-deserved rest and relaxation."
COMREL projects include performing yard maintenance, interacting with children, accompanying hospital staff on patient visits and performing maintenance on the hull of a World War II frigate housed in a dry-dock.
George Washington's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program has also organized a variety of tours and activities in local attractions for Sailors to enjoy during the visit. The scheduled events include a bridge climb, Sunshine Gold Coast tour and a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. In addition, George Washington is scheduled to play soccer, rugby and basketball games with Queensland police and emergency services members and provide a special aircraft carrier tour for the Starlight Foundation children and their parents.
"I'm happy to be able to get off my feet, even if only for a few days," said Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Janae M. Colclough, from San Diego. "This port visit is well-earned and much anticipated. I can't wait to get out and explore Australia and get exposed to new things. This is my first patrol and I'm grateful for the opportunity to see Australia and all the other places we'll be visiting on the way to our new home in Virginia."
George Washington will host a welcoming reception in its hangar bay and on the flight deck for 350 local guests.
"We are very thankful to our hosts for the support of the community in Brisbane," said Kuehhas. "I look forward to welcoming our Australian friends on board and I'm certain that our time here will create memories that will last a lifetime."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, are on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. George Washington will conduct a hull-swap with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) later this year after serving seven years as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Yokosuka, Japan.