KUAM comes aboard the USS Washington - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

KUAM comes aboard the USS Washington

by Nick Delgado

Guam - It took two and a half hours from Andersen Air Force Base to fly about 400 miles south of Guam, where we ended up on the USS George Washington. The vessel took part in the recent Operation Valiant Shield exercise.

The ship's commanding officer, Captain David Lausman told KUAM News, "We normally don't operate in a large strike group with a lot of different aircraft; we have brought not only the Navy, but the Air Force to work together."

The ship is based out of Yokosuka, Japan and makes port calls at places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Australia. TF-70 Rear Admiral Dan Kloyd says this is the third series of the Valiant Shield exercise that the "G-Dub" has participated in since 2006.  "It's always challenging to operate in a multi-dimensional warfare area, but not unexpected challenges.  And I consider them opportunities in what we do and how we do it," he said.

The ship compares to a 17-story building with a variety of decks such as the radar deck and the most popular - the flight deck where planes are catapulted from the ship at high speeds in under 3 seconds.

Among the 5,000 crew members there a those like AM2 Christopher Hitchcock, who enjoys serving in this region.  He said, "One of the cool things about being out here is we are on the same scheduled every year and we actually get to hit more points than the stateside carriers do.  I've been to Guam at least once a year every year since the two years I've been stationed out here."

The crew also spends spare time in the ships hangar, conducting physical training exercises. Captain Ross Myers is in charge of everything that flies on and off the ship, and he says they do experience some challenges.  He said, "Just the normal hazards that I deal with day in and day out is Mother Nature, that's the greatest obstacle and threat that we have is the unstable, unpredictable weather in the region."

Valiant Shield wrapped-up about two weeks ago.

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