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Packers contingent watches Super Bowl on Navy carrier

Posted by Mike Spofford on February 8, 2013 – 9:43 am

USS George H.W. Bush

A Green Bay Packers contingent spent Super Bowl weekend off the coast of Key West, Fla., on the USS George H.W. Bush, a Navy aircraft carrier, and watched the big game with upwards of a couple thousand sailors.

The trip, arranged by Navy Entertainment, included a tour of the ship, extensive autograph sessions and some relaxing social time with the enlisted personnel on board.

DB Jarrett Bush, TE Ryan Taylor and OL Greg Van Roten were the current Packers players who went. They were joined by alumni William Henderson and Ahman Green, and by assistant equipment manager Tom Bakken and head athletic trainer Pepper Burruss. Also with the group was Houston Texans backup QB T.J. Yates, Taylor’s college teammate and roommate at North Carolina.

The group reached the carrier via an “arrested landing” on a C2 Greyhound. In addition to experiencing a “trap” or landing, the group also got to observe launching and trapping exercises on deck. At departure time on Monday, the group was “catapulted” on an aircraft back to Key West.

Bush, Henderson, Bakken and Burruss had been on similar excursions in prior years. Bakken, a military aviation enthusiast, said on a trapped landing, the airplane goes from roughly 130 miles per hour to zero in 1.5 seconds, while on a catapult launch, it goes from zero to 115 mph in about 2 seconds.

The USS George H.W. Bush houses roughly 3,000 sailors, and its Commanding Officer is Capt. Brian “Lex” Luther, a Marquette University graduate. The Super Bowl was viewed on a large, 18-feet-by-30-feet projection screen, and Bakken estimated that anywhere from half to two-thirds of the sailors were able to take a break from their regular work duties on Sunday to drop by the hangar bay for an autograph and to watch some of the game.

To view a photo gallery of the trip, courtesy of Navy Entertainment, click here.

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