News: GW, Misawa Air Base compete in friendly rugby game
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Peter Burghart
YOKOSUKA, JAPAN – The U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) rugby team competed against Misawa Air Base at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, April 5.
The friendly match was intended to foster camaraderie and build team cohesion between George Washington’s “GW” and Misawa’s “Snow Devils.”
“I received a message from Misawa asking if we wanted to play, so I booked the pitch and referee,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Brandon Fought, from Sand Springs, Okla.
Rugby is similar to football but the game is scored differently and more distinctly, rugby players do not wear pads.
“It’s pretty much like football, but getting to the goal line is worth five points and you have to touch the ball to the ground to score,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Daniel Bird, from Portland, Ore.
The “GW” rugby team was established when George Washington relieved the now-decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) in 2008. The team plays about 20 matches every year against teams from Japan and other regional partners.
“I enjoy playing contact sports and spending time with friends,” said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 2nd Class Brandon Ricky, from Porto, Portugal. “That’s my favorite thing about rugby.”
“GW” defeated the “Snow Devils” 74 to 27, but the teams conducted the traditional rugby post-game social.
“Rugby has two parts, you have the game and then you all go out afterward for food and drinks,” said Fought. “You also nominate a [Most Valuable Player] of the match from each team.”
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 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.