Team Andersen airmen tour USS George Washington

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1st Lt. Musette Willis, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather flight commander, sits on the commanding officer’s chair on the USS George Washington (CVN 73) at Naval Base, Guam, Sept. 22, 2012.
1st Lt. Musette Willis, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather flight commander, sits on the commanding officer’s chair on the USS George Washington (CVN 73) at Naval Base, Guam, Sept. 22, 2012.

Team Andersen airmen tour USS George Washington

by: Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos | .
36th Wing Public Affairs | .
published: October 11, 2012

NAVAL BASE, Guam -- Members of Team Andersen and their families toured the USS George Washington (CVN 73) here, Sept. 22.

"I enjoyed the tour," said 1st Lt. Musette Willis, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather flight commander. "Some people say that this island is small and there isn't too many places to travel, well just imagine being on a ship."

As one of the 11 Navy global force aircraft carriers, the George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

"People are amazed at the size of the ship from the flight deck down to the hangar," said Mass Communications Chief Petty Officer Ryan Delcore, the George Washington's media department lead chief petty officer. "It's important to give visitors a tour of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and show how many things need to be orchestrated to get our mission done along with all the tool and equipment to make it happen."

The tour took the Airmen and their families through the entry of the ship and into the hangar deck located below the runway. After seeing the area, the tour group was instructed to board the lift to get to the flight deck, where the F/A-18 Hornets, E-2 Hawkeyes and other Navy aircraft were parked.

"We stepped onto the largest elevator that I've ever seen, and learned that they use this platform to raise aircraft from the hangar and onto the flight deck," said Lieutenant Willis. "I was amazed at how many aircraft were able to fit."

After the tour groups were able to explore the flight deck, the Airmen and their families used the commanding officer's passage way to the bridge where they were able to see the carrier's control center and look at the flight deck from a commander's perspective.

At the bridge, individuals walked around and had the privilege of sitting on the commanding officer's and the navigator's chairs.

"I can't really choose which part of the tour was my favorite," said Lieutenant Willis. "I got to sit in the commanding officer's chair. What a view! It was also nice to be able to take a close look at the different aircraft. Though I've been in the Air Force for 18 years and have briefed hundreds of pilots, I have never been able to get so close to an airplane besides boarding it."

During the tour, the ship was bustling with activity. From maintenance at the flightline to other Navy personnel accomplishing their daily duties, work continues regardless of whether the George Washington is on port or at sea.

"We use our equipment a lot and we're doing a lot of maintenance in order to make sure it performs to its maximum capability," said Delcore. "It's a good way to show how hard working our crew members are considering how many assets we have on this carrier."

For Team Andersen Airmen who went to see the George Washington, the tour served as an avenue of learning.

"I think it is very important for other branches to see what other services do and how they contribute to the fight," said Lieutenant Willis. "This gains individuals a better appreciation for their sister services."

"I work by the airfield every day and watch the planes take off when I have time," Lieutenant Willis continued. "Seeing the flight deck made me realize that they launch and park aircraft in a significantly smaller area. It made me feel a connection with the Navy and gave me a better understanding and appreciation of what they do."

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