YOKOSUKA, Japan, April 19, 2011 — The forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington will return here tomorrow, nearly a month after it left its port following the earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was completing routine maintenance March 11 when the earthquake and tsunami struck northern Honshu. The ship departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka on March 21 with 466 civilian contractors and shipyard workers embarked, who continued to conduct scheduled maintenance while the ship operated in waters near the Japanese islands of Shikoku and Kyushu.
USS George Washington departed Yokosuka to ensure that the ship could maintain readiness, and workers could continue work required to support the U.S.-Japan alliance, officials said.
The carrier made two visits to Sasebo while it was away from Yokosuka to exchange shipyard personnel and take on equipment to support the routine maintenance. Throughout this time, officials said, the Navy has maintained a strong desire and every intention to return to George Washington to its homeport at Yokosuka.
While George Washington was at sea continuing its routine maintenance, more than 20 U.S. 7th Fleet ships, including the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, supported disaster relief operations off the coast of northern Honshu.
Upon returning to Yokosuka, George Washington will continue its maintenance while maintaining a heightened state of readiness to return to sea if necessary, officials said.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)