When its 700-ton island was lifted onto the flight deck of the nation’s newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, George H. W. Bush (CVN 77), the ship’s namesake placed his World War II Naval Aviator’s wings under the structure.
Tradition holds that placing such tokens aboard new vessels brings good fortune. Vessels from ancient to modern times have had coins placed under their masts. One belief, from Greek mythology, is that should the ship be wrecked the coins would ensure payment for the crew’s return home. Since at least the construction of USS Constitution in the 1790s, this tradition of placing coins or other items of significance has been passed on as a symbol of good luck for U.S. Navy ships.
Texan Bush, who flew Navy torpedo bombers in World War II (and was 41st president of the United States), was joined by the prospective Commanding Officer of CVN 77, Capt. Kevin O’Flaherty, in placing Navy Wings of Gold under the island.
The ship was christened Oct. 7. Delivery to the Navy is expected in late 2008.