George Washington celebrates Christmas

Courtesy Story

Date: 12.25.2014
Posted: 12.25.2014 17:57
News ID: 151102
USS George Washington Christmas Day operations

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Bryan Mai
USS George Washington Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan – Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) celebrated Christmas with family and friends during a meal on the ship’s mess decks, and were joined by sailors from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) JDS Hyuga (DDH-181) and the Yokosuka Family Readiness Group (FRG) for special presentations.

Capt. Kenneth Strong, George Washington’s executive officer and Command Master Chief Jason Haka, George Washington’s command master chief petty officer, took part in the holiday festivities, exchanging gifts with crew members from Hyuga. George Washington gave a small Christmas tree and received a kagami mochi, a traditional Japanese gift of bamboo and flowers, said to bring good luck and prevent fires. The kagami mochi was placed on the ship’s ceremonial quarterdeck where it will remain throughout the holiday season.

“Hyuga is George Washington’s sister ship, so every year around this time we get together to exchange gifts,” said Cmdr. William Perkins, George Washington’s navigator.

The Yokosuka FRG was also aboard, offering cookies and candy as gifts to Sailors on the ship’s mess decks during the Christmas lunch.

“I think it’s great that they do all this stuff for us,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class James Girolamo, from Hopewell Junction, New York. “It’s a good feeling knowing that they would go through all this for us during the holidays.”

To celebrate Christmas, George Washington’s Supply Department hosted a Christmas lunch, allowing Sailors on duty to dine with friends and family.

“I like how they made it feel like Christmas back home even though we’re on the other side of the world and far from home,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Dylan Charette, from Santa Cruz, California.

The mess decks were adorned with traditional colors and ornaments of the holiday season, while calls of “Merry Christmas” rang down the passageways.

“We’re having Christmas aboard George Washington just like everyone else back in the states,” said Haka. “We’re here together with our GW family.”

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.