Aircraft carrier named for George HW Bush commissioned
The US Navy on Saturday commissioned its
newest aircraft carrier, which is named for former president George HW Bush,
with a patriotic ceremony in which President George W Bush honoured his father
and current sailors, dpa reported.
The USS George HW Bush is to be the last of the Nimitz class aircraft carriers and will have a crew of more than 5,500 sailors based at the home port of Norfolk, Virginia. The ship has a more than 330 metre-long flight deck and is powered by two nuclear reactors.
The elder Bush served as a pilot flying an Avenger torpedo bomber aboard the USS San Jacinto during World War II. He was shot down by enemy fire and then rescued during a mission in 1944. The decorated aviator who would later become the 41st president was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.
"So what do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed? Well, an aircraft carrier," the current president joked in remarks at the commissioning.
Bush, who will leave office in just 10 days said one of the honours of the presidency has been serving as commander in chief to the Armed Forces.
"This ship is a fitting tribute to a generation of men with whom my dad was privileged to serve. She's also a tribute to a new generation of American soldiers and sailors and Coast Guardsmen and women, airmen and Marines who have stepped forward to defend the United States of America," the president said. "Again our troops are facing down a brutal enemy. Again they are making America and the world safer. And again they will come home in victory."
Bush senior said the event made him recall the commissioning of the ship on which served 65 years ago, during which he became engaged to his wife Barbara Bush. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this week.
"I wish I was sitting right out there with you, reading to start the adventures of my naval aviation career all over," the 84-year-old former president said.