December 10, 2002
Ex-President Bush to get his name on supercarrier
By OTTO KREISHER
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON – The next nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will
be named for former President George H.W. Bush, Navy
Secretary Gordon England announced yesterday.
The new supercarrier will serve as a "symbol of our nation's
resolve and of the service, leadership and character of President
George Herbert Walker Bush and of the 'greatest generation,' "
England said at a Pentagon ceremony.
The former president donned a Navy blue ball cap with the
future warship's name embroidered in gold and helped unveil a
model of what will be a 1,100-foot-long, 97,000-ton vessel.
"I am overwhelmed by this and very, very grateful," Bush said as
the crowd of current and former military officers, members of
Congress, family members and friends gave him a long standing
Noting the presence of some officials from the Northrop
Grumman Newport News, Va., shipyard, where the ship will be
built, Bush, 78, said he had a message for them: "Please get going
and build fast."
The George H.W. Bush will be the 10th and last of the Nimitz
class of nuclear carriers. When commissioned early in 2009, it
will follow into the fleet the carrier named for former President
Ronald Reagan, whom Bush followed into the White House in
1989 after eight years as vice president.
It will join a long line of warships named for presidents.
Currently in service are the aircraft carriers George Washington,
Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman,
Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. The Reagan will be
commissioned into service in April.
A nuclear-powered attack submarine is named for former
President Jimmy Carter, who was a submarine officer.
Bush, father of the current president, enlisted in the Navy on his
18th birthday in 1942. He was commissioned as an ensign and
received his Navy wings just before turning 19, making him the
youngest Navy pilot at that time.
During a bombing mission against the Japanese island of Chichi
Jima, Bush's Avenger torpedo plane was badly damaged by
enemy gunfire. Bush bailed out and was rescued at sea by a U.S.
submarine, but his two enlisted crewmen were lost. Bush
received the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for
his combat service.