The staff and crew embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (GHWB) had the distinct pleasure of hosting its first foreign head of state for a ship visit, July 3.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with his wife Sara and son Yair, came aboard the carrier to visit with senior leadership and tour the ship while it was anchored off the coast of Haifa for a scheduled port visit.
Other distinguished visitors included Minister of Transportation His Excellency Yisrael Katz; Deputy Chief of Defense Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi; Mayor Yona Yahav of Haifa; The Honorable David Friedman, U.S. Ambassador to Israel; and Commander, Naval Forces Europe Adm. Michelle Howard.
This was Netanyahu’s second visit to an aircraft carrier, the first being 20 years prior, when he was first elected as prime minister.
“So much has happened in those two decades,” he reflected. “Our alliance has gotten stronger, mightier, and most intimate.”
GHWB’s arrival in Haifa on July 1 marked the first time in 17 years that a U.S. aircraft carrier had visited the State of Israel.
“When a ship of the United States Navy visits the port of a friend, it is a welcome occurrence,” said Howard. “When that ship is an aircraft carrier, no matter how long it has been since the last visit, it marks a special moment that signifies the strength and importance of the relationship we enjoy with our host. It shows our commitment to the security of Israel is not only a current reality, but a promise to the future.”
GHWB is currently deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and maritime operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.