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Carl Vinson Strike Group WESTPAC 03 Deployment
CVN-70 Carl Vinson
"Gold Eagle"

On Sept 6, 2002 the Carl Vinson finished her yard period. Her work package was originally scheduled to be for sixth months by it was condensed to five months. For five months Sailors aboard Carl Vinson, along with shipyard workers, civilian contractors and government employees have worked around the clock, completing more than 300,000 man days of work, in an effort to restore and refurbish the vessel. During the ship's five-month stay at PSNS several new operational systems were installed, and the ship's flight deck and catapults were completely renovated. Numerous other spaces and crew living areas were also entirely restored, drastically improving the working and living conditions for the crew. One of the biggest jobs performed during the Vinson's yard stay was the installation of the Smart Carrier System, which makes use of automated technology to monitor the carrier's damage control, jet fuel and list control systems.

The carrier and her crew returned Sept 9, 2002 to their homeport of Naval Station Bremerton from almost a week of fast-paced testing and training at sea. Carl Vinson's successful completion of these Sea Trials signaled the ships anticipated return to the operational fleet.

In late September through October the Carl Vinson completed her flight deck qualifications and is believed to have taken part in some aspects of TSTA. On October 24, the Vinson departed Bremerton for what is believed to be COMPTUEX. This is a remarkable development as the Carl Vinson was previously believed to be trailing the Nimitz in the IDTC. She was due to return to Bremerton just before Thanksgiving.

The Carl Vinson began its COMPTUEX in early November 2002 and completed them by the end of the month. The Carl Vinson was scheduled to begin its JTFEX by mid-January completing them some two weeks later.

USS Carl Vinson was again underway on January 6, 2003 in the Pacific Ocean following a five-day port visit to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Prior to visiting Hawaii, the carrier and its air wing conducted sustainment training and visited San Diego following departure from its homeport of Bremerton, Wash. On January 13th. USS Carl Vinson has completed required predeployment training and is fully qualified to respond to any mission.

On February 4 the Carl Vinson and elements of her Battle Group were ordered to deploy to the Western Pacific to act as a deterrent to North Korea following an increase in tensions between the US and the DPRK.

On 25 February the Carl Vinson arrived in Guam for a port of call where it stayed for an undetermined amount of time. In early March, the Navy announced that Carl Vinson would head North making a port of call at Pusan and would later take part in RSOI/FE 2003. This port visit was the first time in four years that a carrier made a port visit to the ROK during the exercise.

Two Carl Vinson Battle Group ships, the destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) and guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), both homeported in San Diego, Calif., joined Carl Vinson in visiting the Republic of Korea on March 14, 2003.

In April 2003 the Carl Vinson headed south and participated in exercise Tadem Thrust 2003, and made a port call at Guam on April 17, 2003 departing the island on April 21.

From Guam the Carl Vinson headed north and arrived at Yokosuka on May 15, 2003 where it remained until May 15, at which point it again headed for Guam. On May 19, 2003 the Carl Vinson pulled into Guam for extensive maintenance and the repaving of the flight deck. The Vinson remained in Guam until June 1.

After conducting operations in the Pacific for roughly 3 weeks the Carl Vinson pulled into Singapore on June 26 where it remained until July 1. On July 14, 2003 the Vinson pulled into Freemantle for a 3 day port call and from there conducted operations in the Infian Ocean until July 30 when it entered the Banda Sea. On August 1, the Carl Vinson was operating in the Celebes Sea and, on August 4, the ship was operating in the South China Sea as it headed for a port call in Hong Kong on August 6. The Vinson departed Hong Kong on August 11 and began operating in the Sea of Japan/East Sea.

On August 27, 2003 the Carl Vinson was scheduled to make a port call at Pusan but as this date coincided with the beginning of 6-party talks in Beijing between the US and North Korea the port visit was delayed until August 29.

Sometime around August 29, 2003 the Carl Vinson received orders to return to Bremerton by September 19 ending its extended deployment some two months earlier than originally planned. Information from the Navy was lacking, though sources and various news reports indicate that the decision was made by Secretary of Defense Donal Rumsfeld. The Vinson Strike Group was to be replaced by the Nimitz Strike Group as the USS Kitty Hawk had run into difficulties which would delay the availablity of the ship in the event of a crisis.

The Carl Vinson departed Pusan on September 1.

Aircrew from Carrier Air Wing Nine squadrons conducted a "flyoff" of more than 70 aircraft from the aircraft carrier Sept. 14. The following day, Monday, Sept. 15, USS Carl Vinson pulled into San Diego Bay and moor at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., to offload the remaining air wing personnel and equipment.

During the deployment, which covered 60,000 nautical miles - equivalent to two trips around the world -- the Carl Vinson CSG flew more than 10,000 sorties, offered indirect strike-planning support for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and participated in several international naval exercises, including Foal Eagle, Tandem Thrust and Ulchi Focus Lens.

Unique among western Pacific cruises since the Gulf War, which have concentrated on the Middle East, the Vinson Strike Group's deployment reflects the classic Far East cruise of years past.

Chronology

    19 Sep 2003 - Return to Bremerton
    16 Sep 2003 - Departs San Diego
    15 Sep 2003 - Arrives San Diego
    04 Sep 2003 - Pacific Ocean
    02 Sep 2003 - Sea of Japan/East Sea
    01 Sep 2003 - Departs Pusan
    29 Aug 2003 - Port Call @ Pusan
    12 Aug 2003 - Sea of Japan/East Sea
    11 Aug 2003 - Departs Hong Kong
    06 Aug 2003 - Port Call @ Hong Kong
    04 Aug 2003 - South China Sea
    01 Aug 2003 - Celebes Sea
    30 Jul 2003 - Banda Sea
    18 Jul 2003 - Indian Ocean
    17 Jul 2003 - Departs Fremantle
    14 Jul 2003 - Port Visit @ Fremantle
    01 Jul 2003 - Departs Singapore
    26 Jun 2003 - Arrives Singapore
    01 Jun 2003 - Departs Guam
    19 May 2003 - Arrives Guam for deck
    15 May 2003 - Departs Yokosuka
    09 May 2003 - Arrive Yokosuka
    21 Apr 2003 - Departs Guam
    17 Apr 2003 - Arrives Guam
    14 Apr 2003 - Begins Tandem Thrust 03
    14 March 2003 - Port visit @ Pusan
    25 Feb 2003 - Arrives Guam
    06 Feb 2003 - Deploys to Japan
    31 Jan 2003 - Pearl Harbor
    17 Jan 2003 - Begins JTFEX
    16 Jan 2003 - San Diego
    13 Jan 2003 - Departs Bremerton
    late Nov 2002 - COMPTUEX Completed
    06 Nov 2002 - COMPTUEX
    29 Oct 2002 - EASTPAC
    28 Oct 2002 - San Diego
    24 Oct 2002 - Training in EASTPAC
    10 Oct 2002 - Arrives Bremerton
    08 Oct 2002 - Leaves San Diego
    01 Oct 2002 - Visits San Diego
    09 Sep 2002 - Begins Sea Trials
    06 Sep 2002 - Completed DPIA
    07 Mar 2002 - 6 month DPIA overhaul



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