Bush family celebrates carrier christening

Oct. 7, 2006 at 3:55 PM

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Oct. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. President Bush christened a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in Newport News, Va., Saturday named after his father, the 82-year-old former president.

"I know you join me in saying to our father: President Bush, your ship has come in," Bush said to applause as heavy rain fell.

Bush described the Nimitz-class USS George H.W. Bush supercarrier as "unrelenting," "unshakable," "unyielding" and "unstoppable," he said it "probably should have been named the Barbara Bush."

His father, a decorated World War II Navy pilot, once flew low over a beach to see women sunbathing, the president said.

The flyover upset a circus elephant, "causing him to break lose and make a run throughout the town," Bush said. His father "was grounded for causing an elephant stampede -- probably the only Navy pilot in American history who can make that claim."

Dorothy Bush Koch, the president's sister, smashed a bottle of sparkling wine against the carrier bow.

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