By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Henry
YOKOSUKA, Japan (May 26, 2013) – The U.S Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted 48 officers and enlisted Sailors from a Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) frigate for a ship tour May 26.
HMNZS Te Mana (F111) is one of two Anzac-class frigates serving in the RNZN. Te Mana plays a vital role in protecting New Zealand and its maritime resources through surveillance, civil defense, and search and rescue operations.
“It has definitely opened my eyes to other navies because we’ve got about 2,000 people in our force and there are 3,000 Sailors just aboard [George Washington],” said RNZN Able Electrician Warfare Specialist Mark Sawyer. “It’s an awesome experience to see different types of ships because we don’t have any aircraft carriers.”
The Te Mana crew was provided a comprehensive tour of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier’s hangar bay, flight deck and navigation bridge.
“Inside the hangar bay is just massive,” said RNZN Lt. Wicus Marais. “I expected [hangar bay] would be big, but it’s almost three times the size of our ship when you are standing inside.”
The mission of the RNZN is to be the best small nation navy in the world and the visit to George Washington was an opportunity for the two navies to strengthen their relationship.
“I’ve never been on an aircraft carrier before and I thought this is one of those things I must do,” said Wicus. “I learned a lot and I hope to take this new knowledge back to our Navy and ship.”
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (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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