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Vinson Departs Bremerton for Exercise, Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050114-23
Release Date: 1/14/2005 4:39:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class William Lopez, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

USS CARL VINSON (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) departed its homeport of nearly a decade Jan. 13 to participate in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX), the ship's final step before leaving on its scheduled six-month deployment.

The early morning departure was the "Gold Eagle's" final farewell to Bremerton, Wash., and the Pacific Northwest, the ship's home since Jan. 17, 1997. Carl Vinson is scheduled to arrive in Norfolk, Va., upon completion of its deployment.

The JTFEX will test the ship's ability, as well as that of its strike group, to operate in a complex, hostile environment with other U.S. and coalition forces.

"In the end [of JTFEX], we will have a combat-ready strike group that is ready to go anywhere in the world and act decisively in concert with the rest of our nation's services," said Rear Adm. Bruce Clingan, commander, Carrier Group 3.

During JTFEX, the carrier strike group will also work closely with the 8th Air Force, based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, to help certify the participating Air Force units for deployment.

Upon completion of JTFEX, Carl Vinson will begin its around-the-world deployment. While at sea, the ship will honor our nation's cooperative security commitments to our friends and allies overseas, promote peace and stability, and go wherever it is needed.

"Bremerton and the surrounding area has given tremendous support to Carl Vinson and its crew," said Gold Eagle Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Donegan. "There are many fond memories of the Northwest for us, and we're sorry to have to say goodbye."

Upon its arrival in Norfolk, Carl Vinson will begin a refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH). This three-year maintenance period will virtually turn the ship into a new carrier with some of the most modern equipment in the Navy and allow it to serve at least another 25 years.

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group includes Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 31, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the guided-missile destroyers USS O'Kane (DDG 77) and USS Mustin (DDG 89), the fast combat support ship USS Camden (AOE 2) and the submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717).

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