USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) was
christened on October 7, 2006, during a ceremony
attended by the 41st President of the United States
George H.W. Bush. The tenth and final Nimitz-class
aircraft carrier, GHWB became the first aircraft carrier
in history to have its namesake participate in the
President Bush also attended the ship’s commissioning
ceremony on board Naval Station Norfolk on January
10, 2009. At the ceremony, his son then-President
George W. Bush delivered the keynote address and his
daughter – the ship’s sponsor – Dorothy “Doro” Bush
Koch gave the order to “man our ship and bring her
to life!” More than 15,000 people attended the event
including military, government, and industry leaders.
Among the crowd were former USS San Jacinto (CVL
30) Sailors who served aboard the ship in World War
II – the same ship President Bush flew from during
May 11, 2009, marked the ship’s official delivery to the
Navy, and she was assigned to Carrier Strike Group
(CSG) TWO for her first deployment.
The ship returned to Northrop Grumman Newport
News shipyard on June 18, 2009, for post-delivery
maintenance work, also known as the ship’s post
shakedown availability (PSA). A PSA is a typical
availability in the early life of a carrier that allows
the Navy and builder to resolve any items that came
up during trials and delivery and make any lastminute
changes and upgrades. Northrop Grumman
Shipbuilding returned Bush to the U.S. Navy January
28, 2010, following the completion of modernization
and maintenance work accomplished during the ship’
PSA. The ship completed this period in early 2010.
The aircraft carrier completed her first missile launch
utilizing NATO Sea Sparrow missiles while underway in
the Atlantic Ocean June 23, 2010, conducting combat
systems ship qualification trials.
Under the command of the first woman to lead a CSG
in Navy history, Rear Adm. Nora W. Tyson, the George
H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group departed on its maiden
deployment on May 11, 2011. During the ship’s first
combat deployment, the ship participated in Exercise
Saxon Warrior, visited England, Spain, Italy, Bahrain,
and France and supported Operation Enduring Freedom
and Operation New Dawn. The ship returned to Norfolk
on December 10, 2011. Upon returning, then-Captain
Brian Luther and the crew visited Texas A&M to
debrief President and Mrs. Bush and their guests.
The ship swept the Battle E competition and earned
the Battenburg Cup, the Jig Dog Ramage Award with
Carrier Air Wing EIGHT, and the Flatley Award for safety.
The carrier returned to Norfolk on December 10, 2011,
following a seven-month deployment supporting
operations with the U.S. Navy’s 5th and 6th fleets.
On July 25, 2012, Bush began her four-month overhaul
at Norfolk Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia,
which included scheduled short-term technical
upgrades. On December 1, 2012, Bush completed
her PIA maintenance cycle and began sea trials on
December 3, 2012. After completing sea trials on
December 4, 2012, the carrier started her training and
qualification cycle in preparation for the group’s 2013
In May 2013, the GHWB became the first aircraft carrier
to launch an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV)
at sea when an X-47B launched from her flight deck.
In February 2014, the ship departed for her second
combat deployment. During the nine-month
deployment, the ship participated in strikes over
Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The ship earned the Battle
“E” that year, and the Secretary of the Navy approved
the Navy Unit Commendation for the GHWB Carrier
Strike Group. She returned to homeport in November,
subsequently entering Norfolk Naval Shipyard in June
2015 for an extended Planned Incremental Availability.
In July 2016, GHWB returned to sea, completing a
successful Sea Trials and Flight Deck Certification.
GHWB successfully completed a rigorous training
cycle and departed for its third combat deployment in
January 2017. During the seven-month deployment, the
ship participated in strikes in Syria and Iraq in support
of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. The ship was the first
aircraft carrier to support Operation INHERENT RESOLVE
for a second time, and expended 907 tons of ordnance,
the most expended by a CVN/CVW team since Desert
Storm. The ship went on to win the Battle “E”, Admiral
Flatley Memorial Safety Award and Fleet Retention
In February 2019, GHWB arrived at Norfolk Naval
Shipyard for a planned 28-month Docking Planned
Incremental Availability (DPIA) period.
The ship returned to operational status on August 30,
2021, after completing Sea Trials which certifies the
completion of ship maintenance and modernization.
She immediately returned to the basic phase of training
and certifications in preparation for an upcoming
deployment. In addition to deployment preparation, the
ship is supporting training and fleet carrier qualification
to help develop naval aviators of the future.