NORFOLK, VA. — President Bush landed Saturday on the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, a new ship named after his father -- the ultimate honor for a decorated Navy pilot from World War II.
"So what do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed?" the president asked the estimated 20,000 gathered for the commissioning at Naval Station Norfolk. "Well, an aircraft carrier."
The steel gray vessel is more than three football fields long, one in the Nimitz class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that are the largest warships in the world. Its price tag is just as hefty: $6.2 billion.
The elder Bush, 84, told the ship's crew, his voice quavering at times with emotion, that they will form "an unbroken line of patriots protecting this special piece of American territory."
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for his naval service.