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The USS George H.W. Bush: History & Location

Instructor: Katie Streit

Katie has a PhD in History. She has taught middle school English and college History.

USS George H.W. Bush is one of ten Nimitz class aircraft carriers serving in the United States Navy. In this lesson, we will learn about its history and contributions to American military operations around the world.

A Floating City

Imagine living in a town of roughly 6,000 people. The town is stocked with 90 days worth of food and comes equipped with 1,400 telephones and 1,600 miles of cable and wiring. Your water supply is unique. Distillation plants produce 400,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water per day. That's right - your town is located in the middle of the ocean, and it boasts supersonic jets! As you might have guessed, your town is actually an aircraft carrier. In this lesson, we will learn more about the United States Navy's Nimitz class aircraft carriers. We will focus particularly on the USS George H.W. Bush - exploring its history and tours of duty across the globe.

Aircraft Carrier Facts

The U.S. Navy commissioned its first aircraft carrier in 1922 with the USS Langley. USS Nimitz entered into service on May 3, 1975, as the first of ten Nimitz class supercarriers. Nimitz carriers are the largest warships in the world. They measure 1,092 feet long, which is almost equivalent to the height of the Empire State Building. The aircraft carriers stand 20 stories above the water line and have an approximate displacement of 97,000 tons.

USS George H.W. Bush and two Guided-Missile Cruisers
Comparison Size

The Nimitz carriers are powered by two nuclear reactors and four bronze propellers - each weighing over 30 tons and measuring 21 feet across. They can reach a top speed of over 30 knots (or 34.5 mph). The flight deck of each carrier is 4.5 acres. There are three two-inch diameter arresting wires on the flight deck that can stop a jet landing at 150 miles per hour in less than 400 feet. Up to 90 aircraft and helicopters can be housed in each carrier. Four aircraft elevators deliver the planes to and from the hangar below to the flight deck.

Construction, Christening, and Commission

USS George H.W. Bush (or BUSH) was the tenth and last Nimitz class aircraft carrier built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company in Virginia. September 6, 2003, marked the laying of BUSH's keel - the bottom-most structure of the ship. Approximately 47,000 tons of structural steel and a million pounds of aluminum were used to construct the carrier according to a modular construction process. Try to imagine interlocking building blocks - each individual unit of the carrier was constructed and welded together to form a module weighing up to 900 tons.

USS George H.W. Bush at sea
Bush

The carrier was christened on October 7, 2006, after President George H.W. Bush. President Bush served as a naval aviator on the USS San Jacinto during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. He was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1970's and served two terms as Vice President in the Reagan administration in the 1980's. He was elected the 41st President of the United States in 1988. President George H.W. Bush became the first president in history to attend the christening of his namesake ship.

USS George H.W. Bush was commissioned (entered active duty) on January 10, 2009. Its mission is to provide 'credible, sustainable, independent forward presence and conventional deterrence in peacetime.' BUSH's aircraft and crew are prepared to attack enemies on land and sea, defend allies, and offer aid in times of natural and humanitarian disasters. As part of the ship's guiding principals, BUSH's crew strives to serve the United States with integrity (like their namesake), while maintaining their 'warfighting skills and fight as a team.'

Deployment History

USS George H.W. Bush departed for its first combat deployment on May 11, 2011. The carrier completed the combat portion of its seven-month deployment in the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) in the Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf.

USS George H.W. Bush Departing Norfolk for its Maiden Deployment
Leaving Norfolk

USS George H.W. Bush and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 completed more than 2,210 aircraft missions (sorties) in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. BUSH traveled more than 61,000 nautical miles and logged almost 12,300 combat flight hours - more than any of the previous five carrier/air wing teams deployed to the region.

Take-Off
Flight Operations

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