USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) was named the top aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Fleet in the 2011 Commander Naval Air Force Aircraft Carrier Battle Efficiency and Departmental Awards program, Feb. 10.
The Battle Efficiency Award, or Battle “E”, recognizes superior operational performance, assessing the command’s accomplishments during training exercises and various command inspections. The crew of George H.W. Bush won the honors on the heels of the ship’s first combat deployment. It was a clean sweep for the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, with a full 13 departmental awards and an additional nod to the combined USS George H.W. Bush/Carrier Air Wing EIGHT carrier maintenance team, making George H.W. Bush the only operational carrier to win honors in all categories.
“Winning the Battle “E” is a great accomplishment and a testament to the skill of any crew, but it’s all the more meaningful when you consider the fact that our crew earned it during the ship’s maiden deployment – the first deployment ever for 40 percent of our Sailors,” said commanding officer Capt. Brian “Lex” Luther.
The Battle “E” Award is based on a comprehensive overview of the ship’s battle readiness, assessing a variety of factors from the number of days the command spent at sea to its performance in competitive exercises such as precision anchoring evolutions to the ship’s safety record.
“Congratulations to USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) for your selection as the 2011 Battle “E” winners. Congratulations as well to all departmental winners on your hard work and demonstrated performance. The Sailors and officers of these carriers continue to achieve and surpass the high standards of those who have gone before. We are proud of the operational excellence and sound fiscal execution that you have displayed. You have our personal congratulations on a job well done,” read a combined message from Commander, Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. Allen G. Myers and Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic Rear Adm. Ted N. Branch.
“I think the very essence of our success was teamwork. We had a common goal and we worked together to achieve that,” said Command Master Chief (SW/AW) David Colton. “A key element of that is leadership. We train ourselves and we train our subordinates, and that’s culminated in the clean sweep. I’m exceptionally proud of every member of this crew, because every one of them played a role in this, from the Sailors launching the aircraft up on deck to the Sailors working in the ship’s laundry, it was truly an all hands effort that paid off.”
“To the Sailors of USS George H.W. Bush congratulations on winning the 2011 COMNAVAIRLANT Carrier Battle “E” Award. Your sustained leadership led your team through a highly successful combat deployment in support of our continued war on terror, and has also culminated in your selection as the CNAL Battle “E” winner. Your commitment to excellence cannot be understated,” read a separate message from Rear Adm. Branch. This is an incredible achievement for a ship that has just completed her maiden deployment and I look forward to future accomplishments. Please extend my heartiest congratulations to each member of your ship for a job well done.”
USS George H.W. Bush was the only operational carrier to sweep the departmental “E” competitions, earning the following honors:
Air Dept. – Yellow E
Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Dept. – Black E
Combat Systems Dept. – Green CS
Damage Control – Red DC
Deck Dept. – White Crossed Anchors with Black D
Health Services Dept. – Blue M
Navigation Dept. – White Ship’s Wheel
Operations Dept. – Green E
Reactor Dept. – Red E
Safety Dept. – Green S
Security – Black S
Supply Dept. – Blue E
Weapons Dept. – Black W
Carrier Maintenance – Purple E
USS George H.W. Bush was also named a recipient of the U.S. Fleet Forces FY-11 Retention Excellence Award, also known as the “Golden Anchor,” which recognizes the command’s career information program, minimal attrition among junior Sailors, and exception management in support of retention programs. Ships winning the Retention Excellence Award are authorized to paint their anchors gold.
“Your successes represent your command’s commitment to the growth and development of your Sailors and will serve as the foundation of fleet readiness. Congratulations and well done,” read the message from Commander, Fleet Forces Command Adm. John C. Harvey.
USS George H.W. Bush is currently underway conducting carrier qualifications.
Naval Today Staff , February 14, 2012; Image: navy