USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)
USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the third in the series of NIMITZ-class aircraft carriers, was
constructed by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Va.
Named after the late Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson, who served in the U.S. House of
Representatives for more than 50 years (1914-1965), the 100,000-ton nuclear-powered
aircraft carrier is the first U.S. warship to have been named for a man who was still
alive. On March 15, 1980, Rep. Vinson became the first person in the history of the United
States to witness a ship launched in his honor.
USS Carl Vinson was commissioned on March 13, 1982.
After extensive workups and training, the ship and its crew of close to 6,000 officers
and enlisted personnel departed Norfolk, Va., on March 1, 1983, and embarked on an
eight-month, around-the-world deployment. Carl Vinson steamed in the waters of the
Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South
China Sera, Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean enroute to its new homeport of Naval Air
Station Alameda, California. The cruise included numerous port visits on five continents:
North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
On October 29, 1983, Carl Vinson sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time
as it entered San Francisco Bay. A three-month repair availability period followed the
In February 1984, it was back to sea for carrier qualifications and the following month
brought extensive at-sea time for refresher training and workups. During this time, Carl
Vinson received the highest marks ever awarded an aircraft carrier during an operational
In March 1984, the ship and crew became "San Francisco's Own," in a formal
adoption ceremony. Since that time, Carl Vinson has participated in various civic projects
and worked with all San Francisco Bay area Navy League Councils, the Association for Naval
Aviation, Scout groups, the special Olympics organization and local high schools,
cementing a strong community relationship.
During a two-week span in April 1984, in support of Fleet and Naval Air Training Command
carrier qualifications, Carl Vinson operated all of the Navy's aircraft capable of masking
an "arrested landing" on an aircraft carrier's flight deck, the first time this
had been done in recent history.
At the end of May, 1984, Carl Vinson left Alameda for participation in RIMPAC 84, a
multi-national exercise involving ships from nations including Canada, Japan, Australia
the United Kingdom. The ship spent July in Alameda.
Then it was back to sea in August and September for the final testing of equipment prior
to embarking on a seven-month deployment from October 13, 1984-May 24, 1985. From early
January to mid-April 1985, Carl Vinson was deployed in the Indian Ocean for 107 days of
continuous at-sea operations.
Carl Vinson earned its first unit award, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, for
operations conducted during November 1984 to May 1985. In February 1985, the ship was
named by the Chief of Naval Operations as winner of the Admiral James Flatley Memorial
Award for operational readiness and aviation safety for 1984.
Upon the ship's return to Alameda in May 1985, it underwent a three-month long repair
and maintenance period. Carl Vinson returned to sea in October 1985 for a month-long
refresher training period and again in March 1986 for workups and other operational
In May and June 1986, the ship was involved in a series of high-tempo operations that
included RIMPAC 86. During this exercise, the squadrons of Carl Vinson's air wing -
Carrier Air Wing 14 - set a personal record of 360 flying hours during one 24-hour period.
Arriving in Alameda on July 2, the ship began preparation for deployment.
On August 12, 1986, Carl Vinson was underway once again, this time for deployed on its
third deployment. The deployment set records from the beginning. On its transit west, Carl
Vinson became the first aircraft carrier to operate in the Bering Sea. After conducting
extensive operations in the Indian Ocean and North Arabian Sea, the ship transited the
Bering Sea once again, this time in January 1987.
Returning to Alameda in early February 1987, the carrier entered drydock at Hunters
Point naval Shipyard and underwent extensive rehabilitation and modernization. Although
the drydock period ended in early July, heavy maintenance work continued through August
until the start of sea trials.
Following sea trials, Carl Vinson had several underway periods and workups leading to a
very successful REFTRA examination in October 1987. An Advanced Training Assessment
followed which was equally successful. Further workup and carrier qualifications followed
in preparation for deployment which began when the carrier left Alameda on June 15, 1988.
During deployment Carl Vinson operated 185 days non-ft in the Northern Arabian Sea and
was on station when the historic cease-fire took place between Iran and Iraq. The ship
made port calls to Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore; Mombasa, Kenya;
Pattaya Beach, Thailand and Pearl harbor, Hawaii.
After completing work-ups in 1989, the ship participated in PACEX-89, the largest
military exercise since World War II. During the two-month deployment, the ship conducted
exercises with two other carrier battle groups, two battleship groups and forces from all
branches of the U.S. military. Upon returning to Alameda on November 9, 1989, the crew
began to make preparations for WESTPAC '90.
On February 1, 1990, Carl Vinson departed NAS Alameda for an extended Western Pacific
deployment. The ship earned the battle Efficiency (Battle E). Embarking on the ship were
COMCARGRU Three, DESRON Nine and Carrier Air Wing 15. During the transit to Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii, Carrier Air Wing 15 conducted carrier qualifications in Southern California
During the period of February 26 to March 18, Carl Vinson participated in Exercise Team
Spirit off the Korean coast in the Sea of Japan and South China Sea, and made a two-day
port visit to Sasebo, Japan.
On April 21, Carl Vinson took part in a USN/Malaysian/Thailand two-day exercise. On
April 23, Carl Vinson began its fifth Indian Ocean/North Arabian Sea deployment where the
ship conducted joint operations with Oman, Australian and other allied forces.
The deployment ended on July 3, 1990, as Carl Vinson sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge
and moored at NAS Alameda for a post-deployment standdown.
On September 15, 1990, Carl Vinson got underway for her temporary homeport of Bremerton,
Washington. On September 22 that same year, the ship moored at pier three, Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard Bremerton, and entered drydock six in September, commencing the complex
Carl Vinson concluded the overhaul on April 6, 1993, after the completion of Sea trials.
On April 13, Carl Vinson Sailors said farewell to Bremerton and set sail for Alameda.
After returning to Alameda, the Gold Eagle began an intense nine-month work-up period
which included underway time for Tailored Ship Training Availability operations, carrier
qualifications and Fleet-Ex 94-1. The ship also served as the U.S. Navy centerpiece during
the annual Seattle Seafair community celebration hosted several distinguished visitors
including President Clinton in August.
Carl Vinson completed its sixth deployment to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and
Arabian Gulf which it started on February 17, 1994. Along the way, Carl Vinson made port
visits to Pearl Harbor; Yokosuka, Japan; Hong Kong; Singapore; Jebel Ali in the United
Arab Emirates; Perth, Australia and Hobart, Tasmania. The ship returned to Alameda on
August 17, 1994.
Following a long maintenance period and holiday standdown, the ship conducted Fast
Cruise from February 16-17 1995, officially ending the Ship's Restricted Availability 95.
On February 21, the ship began sea trials and flight deck/PALS certification.
On May 12, 1995, Carl Vinson set sail in the San Francisco Bay area with more than
10,000 families and friends for a one-day cruise. On August 18, the ship loaded on board
12 vintage W.W.II aircraft for launch during the VJ Day commemoration festivities in Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii. On the 20th of that month, the ship set sail to Hawaii to participate in
Exercise Kekoa '95 and the VJ Day Commemoration ceremony. While transiting off the coast
of Waikiki, Carl Vinson launched 11 WWII warbirds from its flight deck.
September 1, 1995 saw the ship serve as reviewing platform for the International Parade
of Ships and Planes. President Bill Clinton and his wife, First Lady Hillary
Rodham-Clinton, visited the Gold Eagle. Carl Vinson served as the platform for President
Clinton's commemoration speech to 2,000 WWII veterans. Following his speech, President
Clinton and Postmaster General Marvin Runyon unveiled a new stamp series observing WWII.
In March 1996, Secretary of Defense, the Honorable William Perry, visited Carl Vinson to
award Sailors for professional and personal achievement, and emphasize the importance of
the ship's upcoming role as the ready carrier.
Carl Vinson departed Alameda on May 14 for its second six-month deployment to the
Western Pacific/Indian Ocean/Arabian Gulf. On September 3, the ship made history when the
Carl Vinson Task Group, by order of the President, launched an air attack against Iraq. F-14D Tomcat
aircraft assigned to CVW-14 provided escort protection for Air Force B-52
s as they traveled the
length of the Arabian Gulf. In less than 24 hours, Tomahawk and air-launched cruise
missiles were launched against military targets in Southern Iraq. Subsequently, aircraft
from the Carl Vinson began patrolling an expanded no-fly zone, which included all area
right up to Baghdad.
Carl Vinson returned after the successful deployment on November 14 to Naval Air Station
Alameda, representing the last home ported aircraft carrier to return there. NAS Alameda
was targeted for inactivation in April of 1997 by the Base Realignment and Closure
In typical Carl Vinson fashion, the ship's crew reached out to the community during its
last two months there, conducting food, furniture and toy drives. They also spent a day
cleaning Atlantic Avenue as a goodwill gesture. The departure ceremonies were capped with
a farewell reception and subsequent open house during the ship's last weekend there.
Officials from San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda proclaimed 14 January 1997 as Carl
Vinson Day, marking the end to the ship's stay in the area. The open house the next day
drew nearly 8,000 people, despite the unusually cold weather, who turned out to get one
last glimpse of the ship.
Carl Vinson then sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time en route to the
ship's new home port of Bremerton, Washington on January 14th. As part of the move, the
ship conducted a "Noah's Ark," wherein about 100 family members, 60 guests, 900
cars and even three cats enjoyed the three day transit to Bremerton. The ship arrived to a
warm welcome from the city.
On the day of the ship's arrival, mayors, county commissioners and community and
business leaders from the surrounding cities recognized Carl Vinson as Bremerton's first
official home ported carrier. The commanding officer received on behalf of the city keys
to three cities.
Capt. David M. Crocker assumed command of Carl Vinson on January 29th. After only a few
weeks on board, he started his tenure historically as the ship recovered and launched the
last A-6E Intruder
ending nearly 40 years of service. The ship pulled into the Controlled Industrial Area of
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) on February 14th for a six month planned incremental
After starting the work, the crew learned in early April that their efforts over the
past year earned recognition as the top carrier in the Pacific for 1996, and were
presented the Battle "E" for only the second time in the ship's 15-year history.
One week later, the ship was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for action taken in
support of Operations Desert Strike and Southern Watch. The ship capped off the great year
by winning the ADM Flatley Award, recognizing the Carl Vinson as the top aircraft carrier
in the fleet with respect to safety.
The ship is currently scheduled to get underway in September for sea trials.
||Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News,
||October 11, 1975
||March 15, 1980
||March 13, 1982
||2 nuclear reactors; capable of 20 years of service without
|Number of propellers
|Diameter of propellers
|Weight of propeller
|Number of rudders
|Weight of rudder
|Height, keel to mast top
|Number of anchors
|Weight of anchor
|Weight of anchor chain link
|Length of flight deck
|Width of flight deck
|Area of flight deck
||18,211 sq. m
||±70 Carrier Air Wing 11
|Carrier Air Wing 11
Tomcat - fighter
Hornet - strike fighter
Hornet - strike fighter
Hornet - strike fighter
Prowler - electronics countermeasures
Viking - antisubmarine aircraft
Hawkeye - early warning and control aircraft
|HH-60H/SH-60F Seahawk -
||RIM-7 Sea Sparrow
guided missiles, antimissile system Phalanx
|Fresh water daily
||400,000 gallons (15,142 hl)
|Number of telephones
||More than 2,000
||Approx. $3.9 billion (1980)
||"Golden Eagle", "San Francisco's Own", "America's
Favorite Carrier", "Starship Vinson"
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