By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Shayla D. Hamilton, USS George Washington Public Affairs
TIMOR SEA (NNS) -- The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) welcomed distinguished visitors from Japan, Australia and New Zealand to learn about and experience aircraft carrier operations during Talisman Sabre 2015 (TS15), July 11.
The tour familiarized George Washington's Australian and New Zealand partners in flight operations, aircraft launch and recovery, aircraft maintenance and ship navigation. Along with being briefed on daily ship operations, the visitors were able to get insight on TS15 exercises.
Distinguished visitors included Sumio Kusaka, Japanese ambassador to Australia, Tony Lynch, New Zealand's deputy secretary of defense, and Stuart Robert, Australia's assistant minister of defence and Mark Binskin, chief of Australia's defence force.
"It's been a fantastic experience," said Lynch. "The arrival was something quite spectacular. Meeting the people here, the welcome and the scale of this vessel are all quite something by New Zealand's standards. The contact between New Zealand and the U.S. is just great. In Defense, it's all about people-to-people ties and connections. Seeing the passion and the energy of each other during exercises such as Talisman Sabre is quite something."
Distinguished visitors toured the ship's hangar bay, flight deck, navigation bridge, air operations center and combat direction center.
"The bilateral, biennial exercise Talisman Sabre is well and truly underway," said Robert. "Today's visit was a great opportunity to come on board what is one of the most potent weapons systems the world has seen, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier."
According to Robert, the opportunity to bring high-level Australian government and military officials aboard George Washington shows the strength of the U.S. and Australian alliance.
"I know my colleagues in the defense force gain so much from these alliances," added Lynch. "We're in a great trajectory between the U.S. and New Zealand and I'm looking forward to that continuing."
TS15 is a biennial land, sea and air military training exercise between U.S. and Australian forces that features more than 33,000 personnel, 21 ships, 200 aircraft and three submarines, which increases U.S.-Australian interoperability to respond to a wide variety of contingencies and maintain security, peace, and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.