Skip to main content

USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier in a 'super-class' of its own

By KJ Kwon, CNN
updated 8:57 AM EDT, Tue October 15, 2013
USS George Washington, a U.S. nuclear-powered carrier, can carry as many as 80 aircraft and accommodate more than 6,000 crew.
USS George Washington, a U.S. nuclear-powered carrier, can carry as many as 80 aircraft and accommodate more than 6,000 crew.
HIDE CAPTION
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
On board 'world's most powerful warship'
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rare visit to USS George Washington, one of world's most powerful warships
  • Aircraft carrier in waters off Korean peninsula for a routine "patrol mission"
  • It is home to up 6,000 crew and 18,000 meals are served a day

On board USS George Washington (CNN) -- Floating in the middle of the sea, the first thing we noticed was the vast expanse of tarmac, roughly the size of three soccer fields. And then we heard the loud blasting sound of fighter jets preparing to take off.

This was one of the world's most powerful warships, the Nimitz-class 'super carrier' USS George Washington, which the CNN crew and members of other media organizations were granted a rare opportunity to visit this weekend.

After climbing up the equivalent of an eight-story building, staircase after staircase, one narrow hallway after another, we finally arrived at the "bridge," an elevated tower containing the command control center on the aircraft carrier.

The U.S. nuclear-powered carrier was in the waters off the Korean peninsula for a routine patrol mission, which followed a trilateral "search and rescue" drill between the U.S., South Korea and Japan.

Modern Nato shows strength
Watch first drone launch from carrier

READ: Asian superpowers jostle to join the aircraft carrier club

The drill drew harsh rhetoric from North Korea earlier last week, warning the U.S. of a "horrible disaster" and claimed that its troops are on high alert to promptly cope with "blatant provocations."

Standing on the flight deck of the USS George Washington, I realized North Korea probably had good reason to be on edge.

The USS George Washington can carry about 80 aircraft, launch tactical fighter jets towards any location and is equipped with various types of missiles.

Known as a "floating military base", it can also accommodate more than 6,000 crew, serve 18,000 meals per day and even has live broadcast television on the vessel.

Back on the bridge, we saw fighter jets take off one after another at an impressive pace. This, I was told, was the work of a deck catapult, which slings the fighter jet forward, generating enormous speed.

We experienced just that. Ending the tour, we strapped ourselves into a propeller-powered, windowless plane.

After a roaring sound, the plane took off at an enormous speed, faster than any roller coaster ride I had been on.

Training to go supersonic with South Korea's Top Guns

CNN reporter learns to fly supersonic

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:21 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
updated 9:15 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
updated 5:36 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
updated 2:35 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
updated 6:36 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:03 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT