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USS George HW Bush (CVN-77)

USS George HW Bush (CVN-77)

The USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) is a nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier serving in the US Navy. The tenth and final vessel of this class to be constructed, she is one of the Navy's newest ships, commissioned on 10 January 2009 under the command of Captain D.H. Miller, who currently holds this position.

The Bush is only the third US naval vessel to be named in honor of a living former president.

Construction

Ordered near the end of January 2001, the Bush – also known as the "Avenger" after the aircraft former President Bush piloted as naval aviator in World War II – was constructed at the Grumman-Northrop Newport News shipyard between September 2003 and October 2006. She measures 1,092 in length and has a displacement of 114,000 tons, making her one of the Navy's largest warships. Her A4W nuclear reactors were manufactured by Westinghouse.

Bush carries a crew compliment of 3,200 officers and seamen in addition to 2,480 airmen and aviation support crew.

The lead ship of the Nimitz-class was laid in 1968 and launched in 1972; as one might expect, many elements of the basic design have changed in the past four decades. The Bush incorporates an improved hull design that includes improved screws, a bow bulb to add stability and a curved flight deck to minimize radar detection. A new, lightweight deck covering saves 100 tons and the hangar bay has a more streamlined and efficient layout.

The island has been positioned more toward the stern, which offers better access to the flight deck. The radar tower is enclosed to help the vessel avoid detection and the structure itself features transparent armor windows for improved visibility. Aviation and air operations systems are semi-automated, so they require fewer crewmen to attend them. This is also true of many of the communications and weapons systems as well.

Repairs and Upgrades

Following her shakedown trials in the Atlantic, Bush returned to the Northrop-Grumman shipyard on 18 June 2009 for what is known as a "Post-Shakedown Availability," or PSA. This is a period during which the builders address any issues that become apparent during a maiden voyage. During this PSA, the Bush received a new system for her inflatable boats as well as upgrades to her radar systems and weaponry. This work was completed in early 2010.

Wartime Service

Since the completion of her PSA, Bush has been stationed out of NS Norfolk. Aside from a recent rescue operation and participation in the scuttling of an obsolete supply ship, the Bush has been operating in the Atlantic, conducting training operations and qualifications in preparation for future deployments.

Asbestos Risk on the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)

The use of asbestos in naval ship construction was phased out during the 1980s; furthermore, the asbestos remaining in older carriers was removed during the 1990s. Asbestos exposure is not likely to be an issue aboard the Bush.

The use of asbestos insulation in the design of oceangoing vessels was mandated by law in the United States in the 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard the SS Morro Castle killed more than 100 people. Even though all branches of the service made use of asbestos in various types of buildings and vehicles, exposure was much more frequent on ships and in drydock, and as a result doctors find significantly more navy mesothelioma cases than in other divisions of the military.

When an asbestos-based product becomes worn it can become "friable", meaning individual fibers can break off and escape into the surrounding air, where they can be breathed in by naval personnel and dockworkers, increasing the chances of contracting mesothelioma. The damage done by asbestos fibers occurs when microscopic fibers are inhaled or ingested; they can enter the respiratory system and occasionally other organs, causing development of scar tissue in the case of asbestosis and damage at the DNA level in the case of mesothelioma.

Sadly, a mesothelioma prognosis is generally not positive - usually mesothelioma disease patients have a life expectancy of around a year after a mesothelioma diagnosis is made. Currently doctors have not yet found a mesothelioma cure; however, dedicated oncologists such as Dr. David Sugarbaker are always working to create new treatment modalities.

If you or someone you love has been affected by peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma, a mesothelioma lawyer can explain the legal options that may be available to you. Information on mesothelioma cancer is not always easy to unearth, so to help we've written a mesothelioma information packet with complete information about your legal and treatment options. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send you a free packet.

Sources

Sources

Polmar, Norman. The Naval Institute Guide To Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet. (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004.)

USN. "Official Web Page of USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77)"
http://www.cvn77.navy.mil/ Retrieved 15 December 2010.

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