Military News

Thursday, June 18, 2015

GW Prepares Families Around the Globe Through VTC



By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Shayla D. Hamilton, USS George Washington Public Affairs

CORAL SEA (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) conducted their first at-sea group video teleconference (VTC) with Family Readiness Groups (FRG), ombudsmen, and family members of Sailors, June 16.

Family members of Sailors from Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and NAS North Island in Coronado, California, were given the opportunity to talk to their service member via VTC.

Capt. Timothy Kuehhas, George Washington's commanding officer; Capt. Kenneth Strong, executive officer, and Command Master Chief Jason Haka, held the VTC to provide up-to-date information regarding George Washington's current patrol and upcoming tri-hull swap. The VTC also presented an opportunity for families to ask questions.

"Families who had to pick up and move due to the three-way hull swap are stressed," said Haka. "Sailors on board are stressed. We wanted to find a way to alleviate that stress and get those unanswered questions and problems resolved."

With the support of George Washington's Combat Systems department, the ship was able to establish a clear, effective and secure connection between the four locations.

"Family readiness is mission readiness," said Haka. "The goal was to let families know what the great Sailors of George Washington are doing. We want to personally thank the families for handling business on their own while their spouse or family member is away."

VTCs are scheduled to be held every third week of the month while George Washington is underway.

Kuehhas suggested to have Sailors' families meet during tri-hull swap, which, he said, would be another great opportunity for 'GW' families to meet and network with one another.

"I encourage all to take advantage of this opportunity," said Haka. "We'll answer questions that may have been unanswered or anything else that pops up. We want to make ourselves readily available to help clear up some confusion without violating operational security."

George Washington's leadership said they hoped to see large turnouts of FRG members, ombudsmen and family members during upcoming VTCs.

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 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.

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