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Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:10 pm
Washington Times
December 19, 2008
Pg. 21

Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Commission to come first

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) -- In a departure from tradition, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush will be commissioned next month before sea trials and formal delivery to the Navy, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding said Thursday.

The $6.2 billion carrier named after the 41st president is scheduled for commissioning Jan. 10, just days before the elder Bush's son, President George W. Bush, leaves office. Both Bushes are expected to attend the commissioning at Naval Station Norfolk.

Typically, before the Navy accepts a vessel into active service it undergoes sea trials - the nautical equivalent of test driving a car. The carrier's two sea trials involve a series of operational tests to show that the ship's two nuclear propulsion units and other systems function properly. The trials each can take two to five days.

In a statement, Northrop Grumman said it has been working with the Navy to determine "the right time to take this ship to sea and the ensuing time to deliver the ship."

The planning "has put us in the position where we have just 'run out of days' on the calendar to accomplish this before the commissioning ceremony," said company spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell-Jones.

The commissioning of a ship before formal delivery has occurred 15 times in modern U.S. naval history, with the most recent occurring in 1986, according to the Navy.

The Navy said it will stick with the Jan. 10 commissioning because of the long planning leading to that date. The secretary of the Navy will waive the usual timeline involving a commissioning, said Lt. Clayton Doss, a Navy spokesman.

The original delivery date was to be by the end of 2008, but it is now scheduled for the first quarter of 2009, Ms. Mitchell-Jones said.

Northrop Grumman President C. Michael Petters said the George H.W. Bush - the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier - is about one month from delivery.

"Everybody is working hard, we're making a lot of progress and we'll see how it goes," he told the Daily Press, which first reported the delay.

Workers said some electrical work, painting and other minor work needs to be finished before the ship is turned over. A crew of more than 5,000 will serve aboard the carrier.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:26 pm
by minoru genda
This will be the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier. Do you think Bush really deserves a carrier named after him? Maybe we have a Clinton or Obama in the mid 21th century. The new Ford-class supercarriers will be great.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:34 am
by Bgile
minoru genda wrote:This will be the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier. Do you think Bush really deserves a carrier named after him? Maybe we have a Clinton or Obama in the mid 21th century. The new Ford-class supercarriers will be great.
It isn't being named after the currend President Bush. Personally, I would prefer names like Lexington, Hornet, and Wasp.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:41 am
by Legend
Yes, but those are for Amphibious Assault Ships... I believe there are ships of those names still in comission. Those names are of past battles, while the nuclear supercarriers are named after presidents of the past.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:55 am
by Bgile
Yes, I know. I'd just like to see them named the way they were until recently. For example, some of the submarines I served on were Spadefish, Archerfish, and Haddock. Naming them after cities seems like a copout to me.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:50 pm
by Legend
I will agree to that my friend. Although with those Los Angeleses it was almost necessary since there were so many of them, now that there are fewer ships being built it should go back to being fish names... Seawolf was good!

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:04 am
by minoru genda
Bgile wrote:
minoru genda wrote: This will be the 10th and final Nimitz-class carrier. Do you think Bush really deserves a carrier named after him? Maybe we have a Clinton or Obama in the mid 21th century. The new Ford-class supercarriers will be great.
It isn't being named after the currend President Bush.
Yes I know. I was talking about Bush father (Bush son will never have anything named in his honor). Look at the other carrier names_ I just dont think of Bush as Lincoln, Eisenhower or Roosevelt. Ok he was a naval aviator but what did Bush father do besides the 1991 Gulf War? And he's still alive to have a ship named after him.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:12 am
by Bgile
I agree that naming a CVN after Bush was inappropriate. It really doesn't fit in with the other ship's names. If they wanted people, FDR would have been a good choice for a repeat name, and there are probably better ones that I haven't thought of. Also true of Ford.

How about John adams, Benjamin Franklin, Ulysses S. Grant? Lots of good names around.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:56 pm
by Legend
John Adams is good, he was a president by all respects!

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:54 pm
by Karl Heidenreich
A carrier named Bush is inapropiate. A much better name would have been, like Bgile pointed, Wasp, Hornet, Lexington, Intrepid or, Mount Saint Hellens...

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:54 pm
by Bgile
Karl Heidenreich wrote:A carrier named Bush is inapropiate. A much better name would have been, like Bgile pointed, Wasp, Hornet, Lexington, Intrepid or, Mount Saint Hellens...
We name ammunition ships after volcanoes. I bit of twisted humor, I suppose. :angel:

George H.W. Bush Carrier Set To Sail

Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:18 pm
Washington Times
January 4, 2009
Pg. 11


George H.W. Bush Carrier Set To Sail

NORFOLK--President Bush will deliver the principal remarks Jan. 10 when the Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is commissioned in his father's name.

The George H.W. Bush is the Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The commissioning will be at Norfolk Naval Station.

Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, daughter of the ship's namesake, is the ship's sponsor. She will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

The George H.W. Bush will be initially home-ported in Norfolk and assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

Once the Navy completes sea trials, the Bush will have a crew of more than 5,000 sailors.

Bush Carrier To Be Delivered In Mid-March

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:50 pm
Newport News Daily Press
January 8, 2009

Bush Carrier To Be Delivered In Mid-March

The George H.W. Bush is set to be commissioned in Norfolk this weekend. Both President Bushes will attend.

By Peter Frost

Builder's sea trials for the Newport News-built aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush are scheduled for the end of January, and the ship is due to be completed by mid-March, about two months after it's commissioned, a Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding executive said Wednesday.

Once Saturday's scheduled commissioning at Naval Station Norfolk is complete, workers will begin making preparations for the carrier to go on its first set of sea trials, a series of operational tests conducted at sea to demonstrate that the ship's two nuclear propulsion plants and other systems function properly, said Scott Stabler, vice president of the Bush building program at the Newport News shipyard.

Between 300 and 400 Northrop workers should wrap up the preparations by the week of Jan. 19, when the Navy will take over the ship for about a week to practice using the carrier's systems before it goes to sea for the first time, Stabler said.

Northrop and the Navy are finalizing dates for the second set of sea trials — called acceptance trials — which will probably come either in late February or early March.

Until Wednesday, the yard and the Navy have been vague about when the Bush would be delivered, with both saying the event in which the ship officially changes hands would occur in early 2009.

Because of various construction delays, the Bush will become the first carrier to be commissioned before it's completed. The carrier was supposed to be done before the start of the year.

On Saturday, just 10 days before he leaves office, President George W. Bush will deliver the principal address in the commissioning of the carrier named after his father — the 41st president, George H.W. Bush — in front of a crowd expected to exceed 10,000 at Naval Station Norfolk.

The elder Bush, a decorated naval aviator who flew missions in World War II, will help Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter place the ship in commission — the first time that a carrier's namesake will take part in a commissioning. Former President Ronald Regan was alive when the carrier named after him was commissioned, but he didn't attend the ceremony because of declining health.

Despite not being finished, the Bush will be given its "USS" designation, officially entering the 1,092-foot-long carrier into the Atlantic Fleet.

About 11 a.m. along Pier 14, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will give welcoming remarks. He'll be followed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who will introduce the president.

Once the ship is placed in commission, Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, will hand over its reins to Capt. Kevin E. O'Flaherty, the Bush's commanding officer.

The ship's namesake will set the carrier's first watch, and the ship's sponsor — George H.W. Bush's daughter, Dorothy W. Bush Koch — will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life."

Alarms will sound, lights will flash and antennae will go live.

A formation of four F/A-18 Super Hornets will fly overhead, followed by a lone Grumman TBM Avenger, a nod to the former president, who flew the torpedo bombers in World War II.

Sailors wearing their ceremonial dress whites will rush from the pier onto the ship, emerging along the flight deck standing abreast, a procedure called "manning the rail."

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding President C. Michael Petters will speak next, and O'Flaherty will deliver closing remarks.

Ship Made Up Of Sum Of Its Parts: The Workers

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:53 am
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
January 9, 2009

Ship Made Up Of Sum Of Its Parts: The Workers

By Matthew Jones, The Virginian-Pilot

NEWPORT NEWS--Once the Navy accepts an aircraft carrier, it becomes part of the fleet, sailing the seas to preserve U.S. interests.

But in the years leading up to acceptance, as the ship is methodically transformed from a billion parts and mountains of aluminum and unformed steel into a 90,000-ton warship, it belongs to the shipyard and, more specifically, to its workers.

"It's just like being a parent," said Kenneth Logan, an electrician who's worked on seven carriers at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. "It's part of you that's out there, and you want it to do well. It's a sense of pride you can't explain."

On Saturday, the latest object of that pride - the carrier George H.W. Bush - will host two presidents and a host of other dignitaries for a commissioning ceremony.

The Bush is the 10th and last of the Nimitz class of aircraft carriers. The class's namesake was commissioned in 1975 and is homeported in San Diego. All 10 have been built in Newport News.

As many as 10,000 workers will pass through a carrier during its construction, with as many as 4,600 working on it at any one time.

Building a carrier "exercises all the muscle groups," said Scott Stabler, who runs the Bush construction program for the shipyard. It involves work in engineering, contracts, supply, planning, manufacturing, piping, turning and installation.

And though each ship is similar, technological and operational advances over the decades have led to marked changes in construction.

Since the building of the Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1980s, for example, the shipyard has used modular construction, building large sections of the ship independently before setting them in place in the dry dock.

This same process continued with the Bush, which required a crane to make 161 such "superlifts" of up to 900 tons to set the upper and lower bow, the island and so on.

During the 1980s and early '90s, the Navy was ordering carriers back to back in what Stabler called "the days of wine and roses. As we launched one, we were on the verge of laying the keel for the next."

As a result, there were few design changes between the four carriers built in that era.

Production slowed after the delivery of the Harry S. Truman in 1998. The following carrier, the Ronald Reagan, wasn't delivered until five years later.

The Bush, which is due for delivery in March after its sea trials, will come almost six years after the Reagan.

The Gerald R. Ford, the namesake of the next carrier class, isn't due for delivery until 2015.

Because the shipyard isn't building carriers as often, Stabler said, there has been more effort to incorporate as much new technology as possible into each ship.

That's led to fewer steam-driven components and more electric ones. The Bush, for example, has 1.5 million more feet of electric cabling than the Reagan.

The Bush also features improvements in its sanitation, propellers, elevators, compressors and electric plant controls, among others. Many of these changes will be part of the Ford as well.

Beyond the building of the carrier lies the issue of where it will live. Both Norfolk and Mayport, Fla., are vying to homeport the ship once it becomes part of the fleet.

The Navy has said that spreading out the East Coast fleet would improve security. Virginia officials are concerned about the possible loss: $650 million in revenue and 11,000 jobs.

Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter said his office has made no decision, though the Navy is already looking for contractors to upgrade the Mayport base and Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in a letter that a decision to move a carrier to Florida has already been made. Sen. Jim Webb has vowed to fight a move.

From the workers' standpoint, carriers are different from other ships, and their construction is more personal.

Welder Michael Eaton has worked on liquefied natural gas tankers, supertankers and submarines.

"Carriers are trickier," he said.

There are many types of steel, he said, each requiring different procedures. He has to be especially careful about heat input, watching for warping.

"You've got to make sure nothing is less than the best," he said. "People's lives are hanging on the craftsmanship in our work."

Beyond the carrier's basic structure is the issue of its specialized equipment, such as the systems that allow it to grab airplanes out of the sky.

Arresting gear machinist John Reynolds knows this particular world from all sides. He spent 20 years in the Navy on board four carriers as an aviation boatswain's mate, tending the gear. He then moved to the shipyard to work on another four.

"I thought I knew a lot until I got here to do construction," he said. But he learned and now he's passing it on, advising Navy chiefs whom he trained as airmen years ago.

Rodney Cowan, Reynolds' supervisor, has worked on nine carriers in his 27 years at the shipyard. But he still marvels at what he and his workers are able to do.

"When we walk into the space, it's empty," he said. "When we leave, it's capable of catching aircraft."

Eaton, whose first carrier was the Dwight D. Eisenhower in the early 1970s, agreed.

"There's so much physics behind what makes a carrier a carrier," he said. "I'm still overwhelmed that it can do what it does and still float the way it does."

Stabler, who began his carrier career doing engineering work on the Roosevelt, said the ships stay with him long after they've left.

"It seems like there's always a carrier in the news somewhere, off the coast of someplace in trouble," he said. "I hear the stories, I hear the ship name. My first thought is what I remember of the ship being built, the people involved."

Reynolds said he gets similarly nostalgic.

"The first time I saw the Ronald Reagan on the news, I thought, 'That's part of me out there.' "

Most of these workers will be moving on to the Ford, for which the Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $5.1 billion contract in September, and all said they look forward to the challenge.

But though the last of the Nimitz ships is about to sail away, this is not the time for goodbyes. The earlier ships in the class have already started coming back for their midlife refuelings and overhauls.

The Carl Vinson - third in the class - is in the yard now. The Roosevelt is due next.

"So we'll get to see all our babies again," Cowan said.

Re: Carrier Bush To Put Off Sea Trials

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:49 pm
Washington Times
January 10, 2009
Pg. 5

Carrier Named For Bush's Father

By Sara A. Carter, The Washington Times
Former President George H.W. Bush will be honored for his military career when the U.S. Navy commissions its new aircraft carrier Saturday at Naval Station Norfolk.
The president's son, President Bush, will speak as the Navy commissions the 1,092-foot CVN-77, which will be named the USS George H.W. Bush.
"The president is honored to participate in the commissioning of the USS George H.W. Bush both as the commander in chief and as a proud son," White House spokesman Carlton F. Carroll told The Washington Times.
On Friday, workers finished the last details on the nuclear-powered carrier, which towers 20 stories above the waterline and has a flight deck width of 252 feet. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the 11 a.m. event Saturday, according to Navy officials.
Dorothy "Doro" Bush Koch, the former president's daughter, will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life," following tradition.
Mr. Bush, 84, is a decorated Navy pilot in World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mr. Bush, who was then 18, decided to join the Navy. After finishing his 10-month course, he became the youngest naval aviator to that date.
Mr. Bush flew an Avenger torpedo bomber in combat from the carrier USS San Jacinto. He nearly lost his life during an attack on enemy installations near Chichi Jima in September 1944, when his plane was hit by enemy fire and heavily damaged. Nevertheless, he completed a strafing run on the target before bailing out of the doomed craft.
Mr. Bush parachuted into the sea and was rescued by the submarine USS Finback.
Mr. Bush flew 58 combat missions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and the Presidential Unit Citation, which was awarded to his squadron based on the USS San Jacinto.
Capt. Kevin O'Flaherty, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1981, will be the new carrier's first commanding officer. He will lead a crew of more than 5,500 men and women, including embarked air wing personnel, according to Defense officials. The USS George H.W. Bush will initially homeport in Norfolk and be assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
Construction of the 10th Nimitz-class ship began at Northrop Grumman-Newport News, Va., in September 2006.
The ship will support the F/A-18C Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters, the E-2C/D Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning aircraft, the C-2 Greyhound logistics aircraft, the EA-6B Prowler and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, multi-role SH-60 and MH-60 helicopters and other future carrier-based aircraft, according to a Defense Department news release.
The USS George H.W. Bush will be the 77th aircraft carrier to be delivered to the Navy since 1922, when the Navy commissioned the USS Langley.
The aircraft carrier will be the 10th and final Nimitz-class sub and the ninth in the Navy's fleet.
Houston Chronicle
January 10, 2009
Pg. 1

Bush 41

Carrier namesake called 'huge honor'

By Tony Freemantle
NORFOLK, VA. — George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, began his career in public service as a Navy pilot flying a torpedo bomber off the USS San Jacinto in the South Pacific during World War II. Today, at the age of 84, he caps that career with the official commissioning of the USS George H.W. Bush, the 10th and last of the Nimitz class aircraft carriers and the only carrier to be named for a carrier pilot. He recently spoke with Chronicle Metro Editor Tony Freemantle about what the event means to him.
Q: You've told me several times that having this ship named for you is one of the highlights of your life. Why?
A: One of the biggest of anything that could have happened to me. And there's a lot of reasons. One, I was in the naval aviation as a young pilot flying off a much smaller carrier, and I really have great respect for those who are serving in the Navy and the other armed services, so that's an additional kick and it's just great. I never dreamed that an aircraft carrier, particularly like our new one, CVN 77, would be named for me. It's a huge honor. And I'm also a little, not concerned, but certainly excited and a little apprehensive about what it's going to be like that day. I'm probably going to lose my composure because it's going to a very emotional day.
Q: From what I can gather, there are only two naval aviators who have had carriers named for them. Former Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and you. And you are the first Navy pilot who actually flew off a carrier to have one named for them.
A: That's an exciting part of this, too. There are not many of my squadron mates left, but the ones that are are showing up for this commissioning.
Q: What is it like to take off and land on an aircraft carrier?
A: Well, it's a great thrill, because it starts obviously when you take off, usually with catapults we did in those days — you could run down the deck and take off, but every takeoff I made I think was catapult — and you go scooting down the deck and then duck as it goes off the end of the ship. It wasn't harrowing, but it was always a thrill. And once in a while the catapult would not work right, and the guy would end up, safely, but end up in the drink. Then the landing was the big thing. I mean, you'd get into a landing pattern, you'd come around 90 degrees off the ship on the port side and just make a turn — Navy pilots, wrap it up, we'd call it — come round that side of the ship and then you'd look for the landing signal officer, the guy standing with the flags, and he would tell you to go faster or slower, and you're too high or you're too low, and you'd just let him land the plane. Now, it's so different because you've got all this electronics, you know, that flies the plane in for you. But it was harrowing at times.
Q: The price tag I've seen on this ship is I think about $6 billion at this point. What does the taxpayer get for that kind of money?
A: I think he gets an enormous assurance that the United States will be able to project power and protect its forces all around the world. I mean, the carrier is more than a ship floating around out at sea. It packs an offensive punch and brings it to bear on the targets, and it's a great assurance that the U.S. will do everything it can to protect its ground troops. So, I'm a great believer in carriers now and in the future. There are some who say the carrier is going to be obsolete. I don't think so.
Q: I have a sneaking suspicion that you will arrive on that ship (today) by parachute. Any plans to surprise everyone?
A: I wish I were, but I'm not. There was some suggestion of it. But actually, you know, it would kind of clutter up airwaves. But it would be easy to do. The fact that I'm making these tandem jumps these days removes the risk of jarring the old hip because you are in the arms of some great big Golden Knight and when you go to land he says 'Pick your feet up, pick your feet up.' You pick 'em up, and he takes the shot if there is one. But it's not going to happen on this go round. Wish it were.
Q: About 200 members of the Bush clan are going to be at the commissioning. Is that all of them?
A: I think so. There may be one or two missing, but 200? Where do they get 200? I didn't know we had 200. But cousins are coming out of the woodwork, and they are for this thing. But there will be in-laws and distant relatives. But it's exciting. It's a really big thrill for Barbara and me and for the family. And it's great having the president still in office. That adds, from our standpoint, a lot to it.
Q: And everyone from Supreme Court justices down to plumbers from Maine are on the guest list?
A: That's right. All walks of life. I'm overwhelmed, I really am. I'm not just saying that. I mean the list is just enormous, and they are from all walks of life. The guy that does the yard in Maine and the plumber up there and all this kind of thing. And, uh, people that have helped us in the kitchen in the vice president's house and in the president's house and in our house. The stewards, a bunch of them are coming. Former Secret Service guys. A lot of them are coming. It's so exciting. I'm afraid I'm not going to recognize some. Our grandkids of course. Military aides that I had when I was in the service. Nurses, the White House nurses. A lot of them are coming down. Some of the butlers in the White House. I know a lot of Houstonians are going to be there. Some of Barbara's authors that read at her readings. David Baldacci. Our past Cabinet, a lot of them will be there. Christopher Buckley, the famous, or infamous Christopher Buckley will be there. An old friend. On and on. It'll be a madhouse, I tell ya.
Q: As the president prepares to leave office, any thoughts about the future direction of the nation under the new president?
A: I'm sure I have some thoughts on it, but basically I'm a fundamental optimist that the country will do well. And we're still a beacon of hope for most countries around the world. People say, 'Oh, they threw a shoe at the president' or whatever the hell it was, and yet I think half the people in that room would love to have come here. So, we have ups and downs, but I think in balance I'm a firm believer that the United States will be No. 1, is No. 1 and will continue to be. Maybe that's a little ... This beating up on America. I don't understand it, and I'm too old to try to figure it all out. I don't spend anywhere near the time today on these matters that I used to. But I have this fundamental confidence in the goodness and the greatness of America.
Q: Are you looking forward to not having the Bush name in the headlines, especially since much of it has been negative of late?
A: Yes I am. I'm looking forward to having my son outside the first strike zone of the New York Times. I'm not sure they'll ever let up. But it's been brutal and grossly unfair in my view, and I'm looking forward to having him come home to Texas and be back in the bosom of the family. He's served honorably and well, and I'm very proud of him. I'm glad to get him out of that rat-race up there, the mayhem. And I wish the new president well. I hope Obama finds a nice smooth path to popularity and prosperity, but I have a feeling it might not work that way.
Q: Do you think it's taken a toll on George W.?
A: Probably. But he's not in the mode of feeling sorry for himself or wringing his hands. He's a fundamental optimist about the country, and I think he projects that. When you look at his hair I think you can tell it's taken a toll. But in terms of relationships with Barbara and me, he calls a lot and we call him and its not about here's what you do now in Iraq or something, it's about how's the family, how are my brothers doing, how're the kids and that stuff. And we stay close. And that's been a blessing for Barbara and me.
Q: I think the only president in recent memory who didn't go gray in office was Reagan.
A: That's right. He didn't go gray. I didn't go too gray.
Q: Let me ask you again, about the L word (legacy). Are you still not going to go there and write a book?
A: We don't use that word, the L word, around here. You know, there's nothing I can do about it. I can't write a book about it. I can't remember it. My memory is such I that I couldn't put together what will be necessary to write a book. But I think, uh, I think to the degree there will be a legacy, I hope it will be positive. We made plenty of mistakes, but we did it with honor. We didn't have a lot of scandal. We treated the White House and the Oval Office with respect. That's the way it oughta be.
Q: The last time we spoke I asked you what you were looking forward to and you mentioned the commissioning of the ship. Well, that's coming and going. What follows that?
A: Family time. With the president coming back, and just close time with the family. I'm not doing much in the way of speaking any more, one or two speeches, but I'm very content to sit there with Barbara, watching TV, listening to Law & Order, and checking up on our kids. That's the way it ought to be. It shouldn't be hovering around wanting to be something all the time. I know you find that hard to believe, but it's so true.
Q: So are you finally retired?
A: I am retired. I really am. I don't come to work until 10 o'clock. I would have killed myself if I weren't here by 7:30 over many, many years. But the pace is entirely different, and I'm very happy with it. I come here and lie down on that couch after lunch and take a 30-minute, sleeping nap. I wouldn't have dreamed of it before. Age takes a toll.
Washington Post
January 11, 2009
Pg. 2

Aircraft Carrier Honors Elder Bush

Trip to Commission Naval Ship Is Also Younger Bush's Last on Air Force One
By Dan Eggen, Washington Post Staff Writer
NORFOLK, Jan. 10 -- In a final presidential journey rife with pomp and nostalgia, President Bush joined family and friends here Saturday to commission a new aircraft carrier named for another U.S. president: his father.
After landing on the U.S. Navy's 13th active carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, the current president praised "President 41" as a leader, public servant and father. Addressing a crowd of about 10,000 that included his parents and four siblings, Bush said he had come "to help commission an awesome ship and to honor an awesome man."
"We will always be inspired by the faith, humor, patriotism and compassion he taught us through his own example," Bush said, speaking for his siblings. "And for as long as we live, we will carry with us Dad's other lessons -- that integrity and honor are worth more than any title or treasure, and that the truest strength can come from the gentlest soul."
Bush's father, walking with the aid of a cane, told the sailors gathered for the ceremony that "you take with you the undying respect and admiration of the entire Bush family."
Barring an unforeseen emergency, President Bush's trip to Norfolk Naval Station marked his last scheduled journey on Air Force One before he hands over power to Barack Obama on Jan. 20. Saturday's ceremony had few overt signs of farewell, yet the event seemed a fitting coda to Bush's presidency and, at least for now, the family's political dynasty. Among those in attendance was the president's brother, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who announced last week that he does not plan on running for Senate.
The gargantuan USS George H.W. Bush is the last of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to be commissioned by the Navy. Standing 20 stories high and more than three football fields long, the $62 billion "supercarrier" has been under construction since 2001 and is the latest in a long line of ships and submarines named for former commanders in chief.
Other recent commissions include the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in 2003 and the USS Jimmy Carter submarine in 2005. A new-generation supercarrier named for Gerald R. Ford is now in the works.
The elder Bush, 84, was the youngest aviator in Navy history when he earned his wings at age 19, and he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross while flying 58 missions in the Pacific during World War II. His plane was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire in 1944; Bush parachuted into the sea and was rescued by a Navy submarine.
Saturday's commissioning ceremony included a flyover by an Avenger torpedo bomber, the type that George H.W. Bush flew during the war. The colorful commissioning ceremony also included a deafening 21-gun salute from the ship's cannons, followed by warm accolades and gentle teasing for the 41st president.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who served under both Bushes and will continue heading the Pentagon under Obama, said the elder Bush "had a courage and a toughness that impressed all those who worked for him. At the same time, he was, and is, a man of feeling."
President Bush, after sharing a few oft-told tales about his parents and himself, asked the crowd: "So what do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed? Well, an aircraft carrier."
Bush's sister, Dorothy Bush Koch, lavished praise on her presidential kin, saying that her father "made us all very proud," and adding that the new aircraft carrier represents "the universal cause of freedom that our 43rd president has championed with unfailing devotion."
With 10 days left in office, the younger Bush seemed in a gregarious mood in Norfolk, where he also visited privately with teams of Navy SEALs.
After returning to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, Air Force One was towed into its hangar for a closed-door farewell between the president and the Presidential Airlift Group, the last in a series of goodbyes to those responsible for Bush's security and travel.
White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters that "it hadn't dawned" on Bush that the flight to Norfolk was likely his last on Air Force One until he was asked about it by a television correspondent. "He said: 'You know, you're right. This is my last flight,' " Perino said.
When Bush returns to Texas on Jan. 20 on the same plane, it will no longer carry the presidential moniker.
After arriving on the aircraft carrier on Marine One, Bush joined his parents and his wife, Laura Bush, on a golf cart sitting far above the water on the flight deck. As he flashed a big grin, the aircraft elevator on which the cart was sitting suddenly jerked and then plunged some four stories to a lower deck, much to the surprise of reporters and onlookers.
Bush waved and laughed all the way to the bottom.
January 10, 2009

USS George H.W. Bush

NBC Nightly News (NBC), 7:00 P.M.
AMY ROBACH: Back here at home, one commander-in-chief paid tribute to a former who just happens to be his father. The two Presidents Bush were in Norfolk, Virginia, for the commissioning of an aircraft carrier named for the 41st president.
NBC’s Patty Culhane was on hand for that ceremony.
PATTY CULHANE: With a little prodding and a whole lot of pageantry, President Bush welcomed the newest ship into the Navy’s fleet.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From tape.) Laura and I are thrilled to be here to help commission an awesome ship and to honor an awesome man.
CULHANE: The man, his father, former President George H.W. Bush.
PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: (From tape.) Those who were sitting out there where I was 65 years ago, preparing to serve aboard your new ship, I wish I was sitting right out there with you, ready to start the adventures of my naval aviation career all over.
CULHANE: He was shot down and rescued by a submarine at sea. Flying 58 combat missions in all, today remembering those he served with.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: (From tape.) I feel like Phyllis Diller when she said, “All my friends are dying in alphabetical order.” But I’m glad to be here.
CULHANE: The $6.2 billion aircraft carrier was contracted just six days into President Bush’s presidency, finished with just ten days left in office.
BUSH: (From tape.) So what do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed? Well, an aircraft carrier. (Laughter, applause.)
CULHANE: With the former president’s daughter issuing the traditional call for sailors to come aboard –
MS. BUSH: (From tape.) And now, officers and crew of the USS George H.W. Bush, man our ship and bring her to life.
CULHANE: – the carrier officially enters the fleet. For the family that doesn’t talk much about legacy, this will be theirs for at least 50 years to come.
COHEN: In Norfolk, Virginia, Patty Culhane, NBC News.