Seaman Alex Snyder, right, explains the functions of the helm on the navigation bridge of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington to Maj. Gen. Chen Weizhan, deputy commander of the People's Liberation Army, Hong Kong Garrison, center, and Col. Li Jiandang, Hong Kong Garrison liaison officer during a distinguished visitor embark. (U.S. Navy photo by Ricardo R. Guzman)
The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted Hong Kong government officials and media for a daylight embark, Nov. 7.
The 20 representatives visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to gain a general orientation of the ship's mission in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
"We greatly value this visit and hope we can continue to work together as partners," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force U.S. 7th Fleet, as he welcomed the guests aboard the ship.
Tom Cooney, acting consul general, U.S. Consulate General; and Maj. Gen. Chen Weizhan, deputy commander, People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, were among the visitors who spent the day aboard George Washington.
"We spent a very pleasant day aboard this aircraft carrier," said Weizhan. "It shows the strong capability of the U.S. Navy, the organizational structure, the well-trained and professional crew, and its operations. This visit constitutes our friendship and our understanding. I hope in the future we get more chances to exchange tactics."
George Washington assists to keep open trade routes to Hong Kong, the world's third greatest financial center, during its patrol.
"The Navy has been a supplier of security and stability in the entire Pacific since the end of World War II," said Cooney. "This visit provides for an excellent example of U.S.-China military cooperation. It's a big piece of the overall bi-lateral relationship with China. This is a relationship that is very complex; it's been moving forward for the last 40 years."
Distinguished visitor embarks help guests understand operations between partner nations to develop interoperability and foster relations.
"Bringing these guests here and showing them what we do is a great way of engaging and showing the general populous that the military lends itself to a mutual understanding," said Lt. Col. Thomas Sands, U.S. Army liaison officer, Office of Liaison Administration.
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.