ATLANTIC OCEAN — USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) hosted the ship’s namesake, former President George H.W. Bush, and his son, former President George W. Bush, for a promotion and reenlistment ceremony off the coast of Kennebunkport, Maine, June 10.
“It’s a great honor to be out here,” said George H.W. Bush. “I’m thrilled to be on this vessel that bears my name, and I’m very proud of all of those that re-up’d for the service to our great country.”
The ship’s sponsor, Doro Bush Koch, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and other members of the Bush family accompanied the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier during a regularly scheduled training evolution to encourage the crew and heighten their morale.
While onboard CVN 77, the former presidents presided over a mass reenlistment, enlisted advancements, and officer promotions. This ceremony was the highlight of the visit and the crew to expressed their gratitude towards the ship’s namesake.
“Today we are honored to have our namesake available to reenlist 77 George H.W. Bush Sailors, promote seven officers to the next rank, and advance Sailors through our Command Advancement Program (CAP),” said Capt. Brian E. Luther, the ship’s commanding officer. “They are the true spirit of this great ship, and as with their namesake, represent the past, the present and the future of our Navy.”
Following the ceremony, both former presidents took time for photographs with the crew before George W. Bush and family members toured the ship. Throughout the tour, the 43rd president took time to meet Sailors and thank them for their service.
For many crew members, this was not only their first opportunity to meet the ship’s namesake, but also two former U.S. presidents.
“I have been in the Navy for five years and this is something that will go down as one of the top moments of my life,” said Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Zachery McKenzie. “It’s an honor to be reenlisted by our ship’s namesake. Not many people can say they’ve been reenlisted by a president. It’s rare.”
The ship is currently in the Atlantic Ocean training for upcoming inspections and certifications.