SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- SAN DIEGO - USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and its 3,500 crew members arrived at their new homeport at Naval Air Station North Island April 12, completing a coast-to-coast transit following operations in the U.S. Navy's 4th Fleet area of operations.
The aircraft carrier left Norfolk Jan. 12 and participated in Operation Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command Partnership of the Americas operation, which provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multinational environment. The strike group conducted bilateral training and air exercises with Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru and Ecuador. The crew also enjoyed port visits in Rio de Janeiro and Callao, Peru.
"Our efforts with our South American partner nations reinforced our commitment to the common goals of partnership, maritime security and stability," said Rear Adm. Ted Branch, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1. "With each country, we learned from each other both operationally and culturally and in doing so we strengthened important relationships."
Prior to Southern Seas 2010, Carl Vinson Strike Group led the initial maritime actions in Operation Unified Response, an international effort to bring humanitarian aid and disaster relief to Haiti following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake near Port-au-Prince. The strike group delivered 147,591 gallons of water, 1,095,442 pounds of food, and 36,250 pounds of medical supplies. The ship's medical team treated 60 patients on board while the air wing flew 1,299 sorties and 1,152 medical evacuations.
"During Operation Unified Response and Southern Seas 2010 we were tasked by the president to be a Global Force for Good, and we delivered. The families and friends of the Carl Vinson, in addition to all Americans, should be extremely proud of their Carl Vinson Strike Group Sailors," said Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey, the commanding officer of the Carl Vinson. "San Diego has a long history and rewarding relationship with U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and our Sailors are excited to be an active and positive part of the San Diego community."
The estimated economic impact of Carl Vinson to the local community is more than $400 million annually.
This was a scheduled homeport shift for the ship as Carl Vinson was a West Coast-based carrier before entering its mid-life refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) in Newport News, Va., in 2005. The Navy took re-delivery of Carl Vinson in July 2009. During the RCOH period, more than 20 million man-hours of work were accomplished, upgrading ship's infrastructure to last another 25 years and modernizing combat systems and air wing capabilities to increase combat effectiveness making the ship one of the most advanced ships in the world.
Also aboard the aircraft carrier are elements from Carrier Air Wing 17 including the "Red Lions" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 15, the "Sunliners" of Strike Fighter Squadron 81, the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 and the "Tigertails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125. Other Strike Group 1 assets, San Diego based Destroyer Squadron 1 and cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), escorted the carrier around South America and participated in Haiti relief efforts.