Commander of USS George H.W. Bush speaks on Iraq

(WAVY) – As the political and humanitarian crises in Iraq escalate, 10 On Your Side spoke with the commander of the locally-based aircraft carrier that’s been re-positioned nearby.

Monday, the new president of Iraq nominated a deputy parliament speaker to form a new government. The move snubbed the powerful incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, raising fears of more infighting in the government as the country faces the threat of Sunni militants in the north.

10 On Your Side talked to the Commander of the Norfolk-based USS George H.W. Bush about the decision to preposition them near Iraq to start support for U.S. operations there.

“Those decisions about where we are going to be placed happen well outside the volume of this ship,” said Capt Andrew Loiselle. “There’s an awful lot of experience aboard this ship, and folks that have spent a lot of time operating in the Arabian Gulf and over Iraq, and so we basically draw upon that experience and start preparing the air crew.”

Captain Loiselle said they had an extensive training period before the deployment that got them ready for these kinds of contingencies.

“Initially, they had us supporting operation Enduring Freedom off of Afghanistan and internal for central command they made a decision to re-position us to start support for operations in Iraq,” Capt. Loiselle said. “So, if something else should happen, we’ll be ready to re-position and support that.”

“Operating an aircraft carrier is the greatest team sport known to man,” he said. “It takes so many moving pieces and parts to be able to load an aircraft off the catapult in support of the combatant commander’s requirements. So, everyone is working together as a team, unlike any I have ever been a part of.”

Loiselle said families of the 5,000 sailors aboard shouldn’t be worried, that they are safe and doing well. They were scheduled for a nine-month deployment when they left in February. There is no word on if that has or will change.

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