Reflecting on history: George H.W. Bush at christening of namesake carrier in Newport News

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — “May she have smooth seas and following winds and if called upon to fight, the great ship will fight with honor. May God bless the crew aboard this great carrier and may every air group that fights from this ship be free from pilot loss,” said President George H.W. Bush as he watched the brains of the carrier get placed on the flight deck.  

A few months later, on October 7,  the USS George H.W. Bush was christened at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard while its namesake watched.

One of his daughters did the honors.

“I christen the United States ship George H.W. Bush, may God bless all who sail her,” Doro Bush Koch shouted to the crowd. 

It was a splashing success, one that meant more to Bush than we may ever know. 

He said it was “any naval aviator’s dream come true.”

“I will say this has been maybe the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me,” added Bush. 

The carrier was commissioned three years later, while people from all over watched. 

The ship’s crew and staff released a statement following Bush’s death to share their condolences and respect for the American hero, saying in part, “he is a true example of selfless service to the country, and his legacy will remain a guiding light to all those who serve aboard our great ship that bears his name.”

More than 100 of the crew members from the carrier were there to greet Bush’s flag-draped coffin at Joint Base Andrews on Monday. 

On Thursday, F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from Naval Air Station Oceana will perform a 21 aircraft missing man fly-over at Bush’s funeral in College Station, Texas: 

  • Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103, the “Jolly Rogers”
  • VFA-143, the “Pukin’ Dogs”
  • VFA-32, the “Swordsmen”
  • VFA-83, the “Rampagers”
  • VFA-131, the “Wildcats”
  • VFA-105, the “Gunslingers”
  • VFA-31, the “Tomcatters”
  • VFA-87, the “GoldenWarriors”

The fly-over will take place at 5:15 p.m. EST. 

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