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5000 US sailors on USS George Washington prepare for Perth

Article from: PerthNow

Todd Cardy, on USS Cowpens

July 02, 2009 09:00am

uss george washington at fremantle
FLOATING CITY: USS George Washington, an 80,000 tonne nuclear-powered warship at anchor off Fremantle. Picture: Richard Polden

GIANT US Navy aircraft carrier, the nuclear-powered USS George Washington, anchored off Fremantle today for a five-day visit.

The near 88,000-tonne ship, which carries about 5000 crew, has sailed into an Australian port for the first time and will take part later this month in war games between US and Australian forces.

USS George Washington replaced the USS Kitty Hawk last September as the command of the East Asia-Pacific Region and it is based at America's military port at Yokosuka, Japan.

Named after a US founding father and first President of the United States, George Washington, the carrier arrived with guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens which has a smaller crew of about 400.

Hundreds of sailors stood at the formation manning the rails on the USS George Washington as the anchor dropped 3km off shore just after 9am today.

A helicopter will keep constant watch over the ships while they remain in port.

The visit will inject millions of dollars into the local economy as the sailors take liberty leave.

Some crew will complete community work with projects including cleaning, maintenance, and painting work at organisations including PMH, a Salvation Army rehabilitation centre, Perth Zoo and Cohunu Koala Park.

The two warships will take part in the Talisman Saber two-week series of exercises which are held every two years between the two countries around northern Australia and involve groups from all three Australian defence forces and their American counterparts.

Commander of Battle Force Seventh Fleet, which includes the ships, Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, said the exercises were more complex and more involved than most other ally games.

Rear Admiral Donegan said his fleet’s main purpose was to ensure peace and stability in the region and while he would not comment on specific operations he was keeping watch of North Korea.

``We do keep a close eye in things that you have seen in the paper as we also watch closely what is going on there because it does have an impact on peace in the region,’’ he said.

``Certainly there is a lot going on in North Korea but the point is we hope that our presence is a stabilising force in the region - that is the idea of having forward deployed forces - to engage and do things in a preventative way.’’

Rear Admiral Donegan said the visit was his third to Australia and he hoped to go golfing and watch a game of Australian rules football while in Perth.

``It is a win-win when we pull into port for both local economies and also the sailors because we get a tremendous amount out of coming here to Australia,’’ he said.

``Our sailors very much enjoy coming to Australia.’’

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Latest Comments:

I wonder if those guys have bets there too about female conquests?

Posted by: Steve of Gosnells 9:09am today

Hope you have a nice stay in Freo lads! Despite all the protests the majority know that you are all just doing your job. It is said that the Americans are the most hated people on the planet - but I don't think you will get a bad reception here. Enjoy yourselves and stay out of trouble.

Posted by: Jona Davies of Perth 10:48pm July 04, 2009

Moderator, if you didn't post every comment that contained a spelling or grammatical error, how many out of every 100 would be published? Come on, people, respect yourselves a little more, especially if you want your opinion to be taken seriously.

Posted by: dan the man of perth 1:17pm July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July guys. You're a long way from home, but I hope we can make you feel the best you can. I know I'm not alone in saying, you are always welcome..

Posted by: Steve of Gosnells 9:45am July 04, 2009
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