The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) is the third United States NavyNimitz classsupercarrier and is named after Carl Vinson, a Congressman from Georgia. Carl Vinson'scallsign is "Gold Eagle". It played host to the first NCAA basketball game on an aircraft carrier on 11/11/11 between the University of North Carolina and Michigan State University. The body of Osama bin Laden was disposed of from the deck of the Carl Vinson.
Carl Vinson participated in RIMPAC '84 before departing on 14 October 1984 for an overseas deployment in the Western Pacific.Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (CVW-15) was embarked. From January until April 1985, Carl Vinson was in the Indian Ocean for 107 consecutive days. The WESTPAC deployment included Sea of Japan operations while pursuing a Soviet CHARLIE I submarine in the Indian Ocean.
On 12 August 1986 the ship departed Alameda for a western Pacific deployment, again with CVW-15 aboard, and in the process became the first modern U.S. aircraft carrier to operate in the Bering Sea. In January 1987, after operating extensively in the Indian Ocean and North Arabian Sea, Carl Vinson transited the Bering Sea once more while returning to NAS Alameda.
Carl Vinson and CVW-15 departed for the ship's fourth overseas deployment on 15 June 1988. While on station the carrier supported Operation Earnest Will, the escort of U.S. flagged tankers in the Persian Gulf. The carrier returned to the States on 16 December 1988 and was awarded the Admiral Flatley Memorial Award for aviation safety for 1988.
On 18 September 1989 the carrier departed Alameda to participate in PACEX '89, the largest peacetime naval exercisesince the Second World War. During the exercise Carl Vinson operated in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands, eventually leading a three carrier battle group operation in the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Carl Vinson had a port call in Pusan, South Korea and then returned to her home port of Alameda shortly after the devastating 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Vinson departed on her fifth deployment (again with CVW-15) on 1 February 1990, the last deployment for the A-7 Corsair. The ship returned to Alameda on 30 July 1990. On 22 September 1990, Carl Vinson entered the yards at Bremerton Naval Station, Washington for a 28-month complex overhaul (COH). The carrier received her first COMNAVAIRPAC Battle "E" award for 1990.
CVW-14 aircraft over Vinson in 1994
On 17 February 1994 the carrier, with Carrier Air Wing Fourteen embarked, departed for the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch. The carrier returned to Alameda on 17 August 1994, receiving her third Admiral Flatley Award for aviation safety.
In 1995, a documentary entitled "Carrier: Fortress at Sea" was aired on theDiscovery Channel, which chronicled the carrier's six month-long voyage to and from the Persian Gulf.
From 26 August until 3 September 1995, Vinson participated in Exercise Ke Koa, as well as ceremonies to commemorate the end of World War II in thePacific. During these ceremonies, President Bill Clinton visited the ship in Hawaii. As part of the commemoration ceremonies, Vinson launched 11 WWII era planes.
The ship departed for her seventh deployment 14 May 1996, heading for the Persian Gulf with CVW-14 in support for Operation Southern Watch and Operation Desert Strike. The ship also participated in Exercise Rugged Nautilus before returning to Alameda on 14 November 1996.
Carl Vinson enters Pearl Harbor with CVW-11 aboard
In 1998 with Carrier Air Wing Eleven (CVW-11) embarked, the ship participated in RIMPAC '98 before departing for the Persian Gulf, launching airstrikes on 19 December 1998 in support of Operation Desert Fox and Operation Southern Watch. These strikes continued into March 1999. In July 1999, Carl Vinson was drydocked in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for 13 months as the Navy spent more than $230 million to upgrade the ship. Post refit shakedowns continued into 2000.
On 12 January 2010, just hours after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Carl Vinsonwas ordered to redirect from her current deployment in the North Atlantic Ocean to Haiti to contribute to the relief effort as part of Operation Unified Response. Upon receiving orders from USSOUTHCOM, the Carl Vinson battle group proceeded to Mayport, Florida where the ships loitered offshore to receive additional supplies and helicopters. The ships arrived off Port au Prince on 15 January 2010 to commence operations.CNN medical correspondent and neurosurgeonSanjay Gupta, pediatric surgeonHenri Ford, and two Navy doctors removed a piece of concrete from the skull of a 12-year-old earthquake victim in an operation performed aboard Carl Vinson on 18 January. In addition to providing medical relief, CVN-70's excess desalination capacity was critical to providing water to Haiti's population during the earthquake relief.
On 11 April 2011 while operating in the Arabian Sea, an F/A-18 Hornet suffered an engine fire immediately after launch from the carrier. The aircraft returned to the carrier with one engine and the fire was extinguished without any damage to the ship or any injuries to the pilot or ship crew members.
The ship docked in Hong Kong in the Peoples Republic of China on Sunday, 22 May 2011 to take on supplies for its return to homeport San Diego, and to provide photo opportunities to the Chinese press. The ship returned to San Diego on 15 June 2011.