The Commissioning Of USS George H. W. Bush CVN 77

January 12, 2009 by Craig Fuller

On January 10, 2009 a remarkable event took place in Norfolk, Virginia. The tenth and final Nimitz Class nuclear aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush, was commissioned. Named for the 41st President of the United States and a former naval aviator, the event brought together nearly 20,000 people. Numerous AOPA members took the time to stop and visit as did at least one of our AOPA President’s Council members. With Presidential arrivals and departures along with flyovers, it was an aviation event of the first order!

Just walking up to a ship that is just over 1,100 feet long is an experience. President Bush (43) joins the official party with Laura Bush. Barbara Bush and President Bush (41) are on the far right of the picture.
The crowd was treated to flybys… this one is the World War II torpedo bomber like that flown by former President Bush. Following the ceremony, President Bush lifted off the deck of the carrier aboard Marine One.
This gave all the “guests” a chance to board the carrier. Your intrepid AOPA representatives…
  • kent ewing

    Craig, As a former Carrier skipper (USS America…CV66) I REALLY appreciate your representing AOPA at the commissioning. I was on the committee for the Reagan commissioning ….and I am informed that this committee raised much more $$ than we did!! The new crew will be well served by the effort. Hope to see you at a future BPPP clinic…Tom Haines will keep you posted.

    Kent Ewing
    Captain, USN, Ret
    VP, BPPP Inc

  • Jack Redding

    My son-in-law is stationed onboard the USS Bush and this gave me the opportunity to join the throng at the commissioning. It truly was an awesome event and was thoroughly enjoyed by my family and me. A rare opportunity to witness with the former President, the current President, the Vice-President and Secretaries of Defense, State, Navy and more in attendance. It reminds us that even though the country is going through trying times, it is still the greatest country in the world.

  • Don Anklin

    Just a little more information on the commissioning. AOPA was also supported in the air for one of the flybys as I piloted (Don Anklin AOPA 00903441) the 1944 Grumman TBM-3E N7030C which is owned by Training Services, Inc and based at the Military Aviation Museum (42VA) in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This is the second time I have flown 30C for Former President Bush the first time my wife and I were honored to fly for the Keel Laying of the George H.W. Bush CVN 77 at Newport News Ship Building several years back. We where also honored with being able to meet him at the Patrick Henry Airport in Newport News VA to show him the TBM and get a photo with him standing next to his old mount. It was sure nice to fly in his honor and see the Carrier come full circle.

    Don Anklin

  • George Schmidt

    As a member of Association of Naval Aviation I was priveleged to be one of the 20,000 in attendance at the commissioning. I served in the U.S. Navy as enlisted and then as an Aviation Maintenance Officer. I got “the lump” when Doro gave the order to “Bring this ship to life!” and faces started to appear in all open areas of the ship and the flight deck. I deployed to Viet Nam with Attack Squadron 85 (A-6 Intruders) in 1965 and 1966 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk which it was noted is being replaced by this magnificent Aircraft Carrier. It was truly a proud moment for me to witness the commissioning of the USS George H. W. Bush. Thanks, Craig, for being there to represent AOPA.

    George Schmidt, CWO3, USN,Ret.
    AOPA Member
    Private Pilot