Sunday, January 11, 2009

USS George H.W. Bush commissioned in Norfolk

It was a commission worthy of a Bush family celebration on Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia, as the USS George H.W. Bush was put into service as the newest member of the Naval fleet.

According to Fox News:
It's the perfect gift for an old Navy flier: 1,092 feet of flattop.

"What do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed?" asked President George W. Bush from aboard the Navy's newest ship. "Well, an aircraft carrier."

The USS George H.W. Bush, a steel-gray vessel longer than three football fields and built at a cost of $6.2 billion, was commissioned Saturday with its namesake, the 41st president, and other members of the Bush family on hand for the ceremonies at Naval Station Norfolk.

Adorned for the day with red, white and blue bunting, the USS George H.W. Bush is one of the Nimitz class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the largest warships in the world.

"The ship that bears our dad's name is more than 95,000 tons of aluminum and steel," Bush said from a podium tucked under the flight deck. "She will carry nearly 6,000 of the finest sailors and Marines in the world. She represents the craftsmanship of many skilled builders, and thousands of hours of preparation."

Bush, who took his last scheduled flight aboard Air Force One to get to Norfolk, added: "Laura and I are thrilled to be here to help commission an awesome ship and to honor an awesome man."
The latest honor for a family that has honored the country with their service was for former President George H.W. Bush who joined the Navy on his 18th birthday, six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He became engaged to his future wife, Barbara, and then went to war becoming the youngest aviator in the U.S. Navy. Remembering those years, the former President addressed the crew:
Speaking to the sailors preparing to serve on the new ship, his voice quavering at times with emotion, the former president said: "I wish I was sitting right out there with you, ready to start the adventures of my naval aviation career all over."
In 1942, the future President flew torpedo bombers off the USS San Jacinto and, in 1944 his plane was downed by the Japanese in the Pacific. He was rescued by Americans and returned to finish serving out the war. Now 84 years old, his is a story worthy of heroes.
A bronze statue on its hangar bay deck depicts the former president as a youthful, smiling pilot in his flight suit. On an upper deck, a "tribute room" presents Bush's life from his days in the Navy to his four years in the White House.
Four F-18s flew overhead, followed by a solo World War II torpedo bomber similar to the one the elder Bush flew during the war.
Congratulations to the former President with our thanks for his service to our country.

No comments: