The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) is a United States Navy Nimitz class supercarrier named after Carl Vinson, a Congressman from Georgia.
She was commissioned in 1982 and carries F/A-18 Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as well as surveillance and other aircraft. Carl Vinson can carry 85 planes and 5,500 personnel. Traditionally, few ships of the United States Navy were named after a person who was alive at the time of the christening, but recently the number has increased; the list includes Carl Vinson, Hyman G. Rickover, Arleigh Burke, John C. Stennis, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, Nitze, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.
A member of the United States House of Representatives for fifty years, Carl Vinson was, for twenty-nine years, the Chairman of the House Naval Affairs and Armed Services Committee.
1982 to 1989
After commissioning on March 13, 1982, USS Carl Vinson was put to sea for a post-commissioning shakedown. Vinson departed on March 1, 1983 for its new homeport at Naval Air Station Alameda.
Carl Vinson participated in RIMPAC '84 before departing October 14, 1984 for its first overseas deployment in the Western Pacific.
From January until April of 1985 Carl Vinson was in the Indian Ocean for 107 consecutive days.
That same year, aircrew and F-14As from Carl Vinson participated in the filming of Top Gun.
In May and June of 1986 the ship was involved in several exercises, including a RIMPAC '86 exercise. On August 12, 1986, the ship departed on its second deployment, in the process becoming the first aircraft carrier to operate in the Bering Sea.
In January of 1987, after operating extensively in the Indian Ocean and North Arabian Sea, Carl Vinson returned to Naval Air Station Alameda, in the process transiting the Bering Sea once more.
The carrier departed for its fourth deployment in 1988, its intended destination being the . While on station the carrier escorted U.S. flagged tankers in the Persian Gulf. The carrier returned December 16, 1988.
On September 18, 1989 carrier departed Alameda to participate in PACEX '89, the largest peacetime naval exercise since the Second World War. During the exercise Vinson operated in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands, eventually leading a three carrier battle group force in conducting operations in the Sea of Japan and Pacific Ocean. After a short port call to Pusan, South Korea, Carl Vinson returned to its homeport of Alameda, shortly after the devastating earthquake to the San Francisco Bay area.
1990 to 1999
The carrier departed on its fifth deployment February 1,1990, making port calls to Honolulu, Hawaii, Sasebo, Japan, Subic Bay, The Philippines, Diego Garcia, Perth, Australia as well as Singapore and Hong Kong, and then dropped the Air Wing off at San Diego, CA. Returning on July 31, 1990 without incident.
In September 1990, Carl Vinson entered the yards at Bremerton, Washington for a 28-month COH.
On February 17 ,1994 the carrier departed for the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. On August 5, 1994 Carl Vinson hosted the change of command ceremonies for the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet. The carrier returned to Alameda on August 17, 1994.
In 1995, a documentary entitled "Carrier: Fortress at Sea" was aired on the Discovery Channel, which chronicled the carrier's six month-long voyage to and from the Persian Gulf.
From August 26th until September 3rd 1995, Vinson participated in Exercise Ke Koa, as well as ceremonies to commemorate the end of World War II in the Pacific. During these ceremonies, President Bill Clinton visited the ship in Hawaii. As part of the commemoration ceremonies, Vinson launched 12 WWII era planes.
The ship departed for its seventh deployment May 14, 1996, heading for the Persian Gulf in support for Operation Southern Watch and Operation Desert Strike. The ship also participated in Exercise Rugged Nautilus before returning to Alameda on November 14, 1996.
With the closing of Naval Air Station Alameda, the ship was transferred to Bremerton, Washington, in late 1996 or early 1997, either way it arrived at its new homeport January 17, 1997, where it played host to the last carrier launch and recovery operations for the A6-E Intruder.
In 1998 the ship Participated in RIMPAC '98 before departing for the Persian Gulf, launching airstrikes on December 19, 1998 in support of Operation Desert Fox and Operation Southern Watch. These strike continued into March of 1999. In July of 1999, Vinson was drydocked in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for 11 months as the Navy spent more than $230 million dollars to upgrade the ship. Post refit shakedowns continued into 2000.
The U.S.S. Carl Vinson also starred in the 2000 film Behind Enemy Lines with Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman where Navy LT. Chris Burnett is a downed Naval aviator trapped behind enemy lines in Bosnia. The young officer must evade capture long enough to be rescued by the U.S. Marines.
2000 to date
From January until June 2001 the carrier began rigorous training for its twelfth deployment overseas. On July 23, 2001 Carl Vinson steamed from Bremerton, Washington, bound for the Persian Gulf to support Operation Southern Watch. This changed abruptly on September 11, 2001, as the ship was rounding the tip of India. In response to the terror attacks on U.S. soil, Vinson changed course and sped toward the North Arabian Sea, where on October 7, 2001, Vinson launched the first airstrikes in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. For 72 days, Vinson, along with Carrier Wing 11, launched over 4,000 combat sorties in the War on Terror. Carl Vinson spent a total of 112 days without seeing land at this time.
As a result of her performance of the Operational Reactor Safety Exam (ORSE)she received an "Excellent" Rating. This was the first time in over a decade that any aircraft carrier had received such a high score. She earned a Battle E Ribbon during this deployment as well. In mid December, Vinson began the return trip home, stopping over at Changi Naval Base, Singapore for Christmas before reaching the U.S. on January 23, 2002. In April, the ship was overhauled, setting sail in September for a post-refit shakedown.
In January of 2003 she was set for a one month work up for Flight Deck Quals. Due to the start of the Operation Iraqi Freedom the ship was extended at sea indefinitely. After 9 months (Sept 2003) USS Carl Vinson finally returned home. From January 2003 until September 2003, she made port calls in Hawaii, Guam, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong (China), and Singapore.
In competition year 2004, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award, awarded to the most battle-ready ship in the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
In January 2005 USS Carl Vinson departed Bremerton, Washington for the last time. From January to August 2005 she completed a World Cruise which included several months in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Highlights of the cruise included port calls to Singapore, Guam, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Rhodes, Greece and Lisbon, Portugal. Her 2005 World Cruise concluded with a homeport change to Norfolk, Virginia for a Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH), which includes refueling her nuclear reactors. She will return to sea duty in 2009, and per the COMPACFLT decision of March 2007, will transition back to the Pacific Ocean and be based at NAS North Island (San Diego), joining the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), by early 2010.
The seal of USS Carl Vinson shows an eagle, wings spread and talons extended, carrying a banner in its beak. The eagle is emblematic of the nation and the ship's motto, and also represents the power that resides in the ship's aircraft. The eagle flies in the form of a stylized letter "V," the initial of the ship's namesake, Congressman Carl Vinson. The "V" also represents the ships hull when viewed bow-on. Inscribed on the banner the eagle carries is the Latin Phrase "Vis Per Mare" which means "Strength from the Sea."
- The USS Carl Vinson was featured in the 2000 film Behind Enemy Lines with Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman, stationed in the Adriatic Sea during the Balkan conflict.
- The movie "Stealth" starring Jamie Fox was partly filmed on USS Carl Vinson.
- The USS Carl Vinson is located of the coast of Kahoolawe, Hawaii in Microsoft's Flight Simulator series.