Carrier 'George H.W. Bush' launched

Jan. 11, 2009 at 9:47 AM
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NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A new aircraft carrier named for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has been commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, officials said.

Attending the ceremony was the former president and former first lady Barbara Bush, and their son, U.S. President George W. Bush, who launched the Nimitz class nuclear-powered carrier Saturday by saying, "I hereby place the United States Ship George H.W. Bush in commission. May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her."

Calling his father an "awesome man," Bush said, "So what do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed? Well, an aircraft carrier!"

The elder Bush is a decorated Navy pilot from World War II who flew torpedo bombers off the converted aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto.

"Being here in this ceremony takes me back 65 years to another commissioning, this one on the shipyards of Philadelphia, for the USS San Jacinto, a light carrier upon which my crewmates, very few of whom are with us today, and I were preparing to serve in World War II," the former president said.

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