George H.W. Bush Christened at Newport News

Article excerpt

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) was officially christened 7 October at Northrop Grumman Newport News ship yard with its namesake and 41st president in attendance.

According to Northrop Grumman Corp., former Pres. Bush's attendance marks the first time in the shipyard's 120-year history that a president has witnessed the christening of a ship named in his honor. "I hope the American people will accept my sincere gratitude for an honor that touches my heart," said former Pres. Bush. "This is any Naval aviator's dream come true."

The ship's sponsor, Bush's daughter, Doro Bush Koch, christened the ship with the ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle across the bow.

President George W. Bush also attended the ceremony, standing side-by-side with Koch and his father for the christening. "She is unshakable, she is unyielding, and she is unstoppable," said the president. "The men and women of the US military represent the best of America, and they deserve the best America can give them."

"Such a ship is not just a symbol of our power," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael G. Mullen, "but a symbol of our freedom."

While the carrier still follows basic Mimitz-class specifications, Northrop Grumman has made numerous improvements. Most of the changes have been made to the 700-ton island structure, including the removal of one level and increasing the height of individual levels by 9-in, which leaves room to add new and upgraded systems as they become available.

The carrier's island, towering 20 stories above the ship's waterline, is the command center for navigation and flight-deck operations, allowing air-traffic controllers to see and direct the movement of aircraft on the ship's 4. …