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NEWS | July 16, 2014

GW Carrier Strike Group Bids Farewell to Busan, ROK

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Beverly J. Lesonik USS George Washington Public Affairs

The George Washington (CVN 73) Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) departed Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK) after a four-day, goodwill port visit, July 15.

The port visit provided GWCSG Sailors well-deserved liberty and the opportunity to engage with ROK citizens.

"[GWCSG] was extremely proud to be here," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "This strike group is the most visual sign of America's commitment to ROK, and to the security and stability of north east Asia. We will spend the next two to three weeks doing operations with ROK navy, air force and army demonstrating our teamwork and interoperability."

The GWCSG visit sets the stage for upcoming operations with ROK military, but the U.S. and ROK have conducted at-sea exercises for decades.

"For more than 60 years, [U.S. and ROK navy] ships have exercised at sea together," said Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. "We practiced together, trained together and developed our capabilities together. We deter our enemies and we provide peace and stability throughout the region."

More than 1,000 ROK citizens toured George Washington during its time in port. They were able to view the ship's hangar bay, ride an aircraft elevator up to the flight deck and climb ladder wells to the ship's navigation bridge.

Sailors took site tours around ROK and participated in eight community relation projects and three sporting events. Sailors were also able to explore ROK through Morale, Welfare and Recreational events that took them to various sites across ROK.

"I feel really good about volunteering with our U.S. allies," said ROK navy Senior Chief Won Jeong Hyun. "Interacting with each other in a non-military capacity opens up the doors for new friendships and really gives insight into our relationship as people."

The GWCSG includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Shiloh (CG 67), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63).

George Washington and CVW 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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