Aircraft Carrier USS George H.W. Bush Receives 4,840 Pens from Woodcraft

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Originally posted: February 13, 2017

After 13 years and more than 146,000 pens, Woodcraft’s Turn for Troops program continues to provide support to active duty armed forces in the form of handmade wooden pens from home. Pens made by volunteer woodturners during this yearly event, held at Woodcraft stores nationwide over Veterans Day weekend, are also sent to military personnel recovering in rehabilitation centers.

After Virginia Beach Woodcraft store owner Bill Caillet was invited to fly out to the carrier George H. W. Bush last summer during a training mission off the coast of North Carolina, he nominated the ship to receive pens from the TFT program. “It was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget,” Bill wrote in his request. “I think they are worthy recipients.”  

More than 4,800 pens were shipped to Capt. Will Pennington, Commanding Officer of the ship, to hand out to the sailors onboard the ship upon embarking on their 7-month deployment. “I will encourage our team to use your wonderful gift to maintain contact with their friends and families,” Capt. Pennington wrote.

After an “interesting” start the first couple days of their deployment, thanks to Mother Nature, the pens were distributed throughout the carrier. Capt. Pennington selected one of the slimmer diameter pens to fit into the pocket of his flight suit and took it flying with him. “It has now completed two catapult take-offs and two arrested landings,” he said. 

One sailor sent an email expressing thanks for the gift: “Dear Woodcraft, I am currently deployed aboard USS George HW Bush, and holding one of your fine handmade wooden pens. I just want to thank you, sincerely, for your generous gift. Good American companies like yours, and the people who work there, are a true blessing to our military. Not just because you’ve supplied us with pens but simply because you’ve taken the time to express your support for the troops.  It’s a very nice pen by the way; you have my word that it will be put to good use.”

The Avenger Daily, an internal communication for the ship members and their families, ran a story called “Ink from the Heart” about receiving the pens. “While Sailors are far from home serving in missions all over the world, some of the more touching gestures of gratitude come from letters, care packages and specialty items made by volunteers who care about those who serve,” the article read. 

“It’s great to see that people appreciate the things we do to serve our country and, in return, take time out of their day to send us morale boosters,” a Yeoman aboard the ship stated. “Not only does it make our day go by easier, but it shows that we have support and love all over the country.”

A Machinery Repairman expressed his gratitude by saying, “It shows that there are people out there who are always thinking about us.”  The sailor, who enjoys woodworking in his spare time, also appreciated the craftsmanship of making something, “I feel like it’s a lost art, getting your hands dirty and creating art from it.” 

Capt. Pennington reported spotting the pens everywhere he went. “It’s fair to say, they are spread throughout the whole ship,” he said. The Captain sent a beautiful framed picture of the USS George H.W. Bush to the Woodcraft corporate office, thanking “Team Woodcraft” for the “awesome support,” which will be proudly displayed on our “Turn for Troops wall” in the lobby. 

The Avenger Daily article went on to say, “When Sailors are deployed away from friends and family, it’s the little things that make them feel like they’re being thought about.”

“Team Woodcraft” is honored to send these “little things” as a small thank-you to the sailors aboard the USS George H.W. Bush for their service and sacrifice. We are thinking of you and send our best wishes for a safe mission and return home to your families!

For more information about the USS George H. W. Bush, visit this website

To get involved in the Turn for Troops program, contact your local Woodcraft store. No experience necessary – just a desire to say “thank you.”

We hope you’ll be inspired! 

WE ARE A NON-FEDERAL ENTITY. WE ARE NOT A PART OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OR ANY OF ITS COMPONENTS. THE WORDS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, ITS COMPONENTS OR REFLECT AN OFFICIAL ENDORSEMENT. 

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