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USS George Washington (CVN 73) departs for Japan.

With her crew of approximately 5,500 Sailors, USS George Washington (CVN 73) recently departed San Diego, and headed to Yokosuka, Japan, where she will replace USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the United States' only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier.

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Commanded by Capt. John R. Haley, George Washington became the flagship for the Commander, Task Force 70 (CTF 70), Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren last week after he and his staff moved to George Washington from Kitty Hawk.

"The transition had been tremendously smooth, and it's clear that we're passing an enormous milestone toward reaching USS George Washington's ultimate forward deployment assignment to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans," said Wren. "We are particularly excited to foster a new era in our long-standing relationship with our host nation of Japan and the city of Yokosuka."

This will be the first time George Washington gets underway with CTF 70, Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW 5) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. The carrier will be the permanent flagship for CTF 70 while GW is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.

Task Force 70 is the Carrier Strike Group component of Battle Force 7th Fleet, also led by Wren. In the past, the task force has been centered on USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), which will soon head to Bremerton, Wash., to decommission from naval service next year after 48 years on active duty.

The security environment in the Western Pacific region requires the United States to station the most capable ships forward for deterrence and the best possible response times for maritime and joint force operations. The forward deployment of GW ensures the ability of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, to fulfill the U.S. Government's commitment to the defense of Japan, and the maintenance of international peace and security in the Far East in support of mutual cooperation and security. This posture also brings the U.S. Navy's most capable ships with the greatest amount of striking power and operational capability in the timeliest manner.

George Washington's replacement of Kitty Hawk is part of the Navy's long-range effort to routinely replace older ships assigned to the Navy's forward-deployed forces with newer or more capable platforms.

Story courtesy of USS George Washington (CVN 73), San Diego.
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Title Annotation:This Just In
Author:Washington, George
Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:375
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