In late September, the Nimitz -class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73)—pictured here with Sailors on the flight deck forming a Japanese phrase meaning "nice to meet you"—arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, to replace the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed carrier. Commissioned in 1961, the aging Kitty Hawk served in Japan for a decade, having replaced the USS Independence (CV-62) there in 1998. The Kitty Hawk is due to decommission in late January 2009 as the sole conventionally-powered aircraft carrier remaining in U.S. service. Aware that no fossil-fuel-powered alternatives were available, the Japanese government reluctantly agreed to her replacement by the nuclear-powered George Washington . Although initially scheduled to arrive in Yokosuka in June, the replacement carrier's deployment was delayed for several months because of a 22 May fire that reportedly cost $70 million to repair. Commissioned on 4 July 1992, the 100,000-ton nuclear-powered carrier is by far the largest U.S. warship ever forward deployed.