USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea –
The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted a Royal New Zealand navy Midshipman, July 19-20.
Originally from Dannevirke, New Zealand, Midshipman Anna-Marie Garnett, 19, has served one year as a supply officer in the Royal New Zealand navy. After graduating Supply Officer Initial Professional Course in 2014, she was selected for a naval foreign exchange program.
"It's been an amazing experience to see everything in action," said Garnett, who is the equivalent to an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. "I've been blessed to be able to witness the capabilities and operations of our U.S. allies."
Garnett embarked Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) June 16 during the George Washington Carrier Strike Group's goodwill port visit to Hong Kong. A month later, she had the opportunity to come aboard George Washington.
"It's been an overwhelming experience," said Garnett. "[George Washington] is bigger than any naval ship I've seen before. We only have 11 ships and less than 2,000 people in our navy - the dynamics are completely different."
More than 5,500 Sailors call George Washington home during its 2014 patrol, and Garnett had the opportunity to see them all in action. From aircraft launch and recovery, visiting the ship's navigation bridge, to witnessing a replenishment-at-sea (RAS), Garnett was immersed in aircraft carrier operations.
"Observing the RAS from the ship's hangar bay was amazing," said Garnett. "There were hundreds and hundreds of sailors working together, each with a vital role in the evolution - it was great to see everyone in action."
George Washington Sailors also played a big part to make Garnett's experience a memorable one through kindness, and by helping her navigate the 1,092 foot-long and 24-story-tall ship.
"I really appreciate the hospitality," said Garnett. "I've met so many great people who have gone out of their way to show me around, and point me in the right direction."
Although her time aboard George Washington was short, the crew made it an experience that Garnett will never forget.
"I've loved every moment of my time aboard George Washington," said Garnett. "If the opportunity arises, I would love to come back - I would definitely volunteer to do this again."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provides a combat ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.