A Report From The USS Carl Vinson

A Report From The USS Carl Vinson

A Report From The USS Carl Vinson

A Report From The USS Carl Vinson

A Report From The USS Carl Vinson

A Video From The USS Carl Vinson

Another Video From The USS Carl Vinson

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

* Yesterday's highlights included a man overboard drill. The Navy likes to have 
everyone present and accounted for in 12 minutes. It took 21 minutes Friday. The tiger 
cruisers were all present and accounted for in 18 minutes, but it took the crew three 
more minutes to get to their muster stations. Friday afernoon we also went through a 
safety presentation in the hanger bay. We went to vultures row, a lookout, on the island 
(conning tower) to watch air operations. We saw a Hawkeye launched. I'm getting a lot 
of neat pictures, some are being sent back with these reports. Last night was our first 
night at sea. Jon sleeps one deck below the hanger bay to the aft of the ship. The head 
(bathroom) used by Jon's department is used by 80 some sailors, it has six toilets, six 
showers, and 8 sinks. I am trying to get used to sleeping in these racks, first getting 
into them and then trying to sleep in such a confined space. 

* This morning we mustered at 7:00. Many sailors go back to bed if they aren't on duty
or watch. The mess stayed open late this morning till 8:30 for tiger cruisers, it normally
closes at 7:00 a.m. The air show was supposed to start at 10:00 but was pushed back an hour 
due to winds. We went back to vultures row to watch the launches. W0W---SO AWESOME!!! 
Enough said. We watched them launch Seahawk 60's, Hawkeyes, F-18's and Prowlers. The roar
of the engines is undescrible. The catapults send a 20 ton aircraft to 150 miles an hour
in two seconds!!! We were allowed to go to the flight deck as the Navy launched the alert
one (the last 2 F-18's) aircraft. We were 150 feet away!!! During the air show they dropped 
flares, strafed, dropped bombs, did dog fights, one went vertical and twice they broke the 
sound barrier. The Seahawk 60's dropped a rapelling rope down to a corner of the carrier and 
four EOD's (explosive ordinance disposal) sailors rapelled down, loaded with gear and 
assault rifles to show us how they would board a pirate vessel for a rescue. The 
helicopters also dropped a Navy rescue swimmer for a demonstration. After the air show,
Jon took us to the fantail, three decks below the flight deck, to watch the planes land.
It looks like they're going to hit the back of the ship. Wow what a morning. 

* After lunch we went to a briefing in hanger bay 2. Rear Admiral Sam Perez addressed 
the tiger cruisers about the mission of Carrier Strike Group 1. USS Carl Vinson Captain
Bruce Lindsey talked about the Vinson's history since it was refueled and updated in Newport
News Virginia after a quarter century of service. He said the ship is refueled for another 
25 years of service. The Carl Vinson first provided hurricane relief aid to Haiti in 2010. 
Then it sailed around South America, through the Straits of Magellen to it's homeport in
San Diego. He talked about the carrier groups joint operations with Korea, Japan, Singapore,
the Malasian Navy and with the US Fifth Fleet. Lindsey talked about their experiences with 
pirates and saving 7 ships. He talked about air operations in the North Arabian Sea and 3500
combat sorties flown into Afganistan. On it's way home the Vinson made port stops in Manilla in the 
Philippines, Hong Kong and they avoided a typhoon on the voyage to Pearl Harbor. After the 
presentation, Admiral Perz took questions from the tigers. One asked him about Osama bin
Laden. Perez said he couldn't comment on that mission, even though the President and other 
military officials released bin Laden's body was buried at sea from the Carl Vinson. Perez 
said the Navy has advised the ships' officers and crew to have no comment on the historic
event. Tonight there are more tours and a movie in the hanger bay. Tomorrow the USS 
Guided Missle Cruiser "Bunker Hill" will pull along side to take on fuel. 

Craig Donnelly

Sunday, June 12, 2011

* Today is a quiet day on board, a day off for many sailors; holiday routine. Many
sailors sleep in. Last night they showed the movie, "The Green Hornet" and served snacks 
in hanger bay 2. Jon and I were up by 8:00 this morning to watch a simulated refueling of 
the guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill. The ship pulled even with the Vinson and a 
small rope was shot over to the Bunker Hill, then retrieved pulling a larger one back, 
and then back over again with a larger rope. The Carl Vinson is nuclear powered and was 
just refueled and refitted over a five year period between 2005-2010. It will not need to
be refueled for another 25 years. The Vinson does carry fuel for their aircraft, and at 
times refuels other ships. After the refueling demonstration the Bunker Hill fired several 
salvos from their five inch guns. Then the Vinson and the Bunker Hill had a race at sea. 
They both started at five knots. The Bunker Hill raced out to an early lead, but after 4 
minutes the Vinson pulled back even and started to pull ahead. Captain Lindsey said before 
the race started there were deck winds on the Vinson at 15 knots. When the Vinson's speed
hit 32 knots the deck winds were pushing 50 knots, as much as a tropical storm. During the 
8 minute race the two ships covered three and three quarters of a mile. The Captain said 
the Vinson is so fast that it can maneuver and out run the speed of a torpedo. Captain 
Lindsey told the tigers that at top speed the Vinson can come to a complete stop within 
a mile. 

* Facebook fans can follow the Vinson on their facebook page. It has nearly 34 thousand 
friends. Some of the highlights of the Vinson's 6 month deployment include the successful 
rescue of an overboard sailor in the afternoon of February 4th in the Arabian Sea. Combat
sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan. On April 11th, an F-18 
Hornet made an arrested landing using one engine before the plane became engulfed in flames, 
there were no injuries. 

* We are halfway through our five day sail home from Hawaii, we are expected to dock at
Coronado Island in San Diego Bay Wednesday morning. I am learning alot about Navy life at
sea and enjoying time with my sailor son Jon. 

Craig Donnelly 

Monday, June 13th, 2011

* Last night the crew held a "Ship's Got Talent" Show with Karoke and served the tiger 
cruisers ice cream in hanger bay 2. Several of the tiger cruisers partipated in the show 
with the biggest hit a six year old tiger cruiser who joined his mother onboard who sang 
the National Anthem to a standing ovation. It was moving. Standing in line for my ice cream 
I visited with a female sailor who told me that the crew is made up of 30 to 40 percent women.
Jon said that figure seemed high to him, but there is a large number of women in the crew,
and they are involved in every department including many on the flight deck and even a few 
pilots. You can tell where different crew members work by the color of their uniforms.

* It's early Monday morning, we muster at 7:00 a.m. If we want breakfast we need to eat
between 5:00 and 7:00. We went through another time zone yesterday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. and 
are now just one hours time zone away from San Diego. You can tell the crew is anxious to
get home after being away from family and friends for over six months. 

* Yesterday Jon Donnelly received a "shout out" from the Captain during a daily briefing 
over the ship's loud speaker system. A "shout out" is a form of recognition by the ship's officers
for a job well done. Jon said he was recognized for just doing his job. Whenever the Captain 
comes on with announcements all activity on the ship stops. The crew stops whatever they are 
doing and listen to the announcements. Jon's immediate supervisor First Class Machinist Mate 
Barraza said Jon was recognized for servicing one of the ships aircraft elevators during a morale
day when the rest of the crew was enjoying a steel beach day cookout on the flight deck in
February. I know that Jon also received a letter of recognition from Admiral Perez during this 
deployment. I am proud of my son and of all the sailors for the job they do protecting our 
freedom and policing the world. 

* We made breakfast today, then mustered, and during daily cleaning Jon parked his dad in
the rack. Jon showed me where he does laundry on the ship, his uniforms are washed by the ship's
crew but he has to wash all his personal items and civilian clothes. Next he showed me where 
the crew can work out. They have at least five small fitness areas with weights and workout 
equipment. Late this morning we went to vultures row and watched a fire saftey drill on the 
flight deck. It was very windy and cold outside the ship. Lunch was next, the Vinson has two
galley's (kitchens) on board, they each have two serving lines. Lunch is available from 10:00 
till 1:30, dinner from 4:00 till 8:00 and late hours for those who have late duty. Some of the 
lines for chow go down a hallway, up a set of ladders to the next deck, and out into the hangar
bay. Each line has different food, so you have to walk through the galley's to see what you want 
to eat and then go that respective line and wait for your turn to eat. Last night I waited in line 
for 20 some minutes for my ice cream at the "Ships got Talent" Show. 

* When we woke up this morning there was a tremendous noise reveeing up and down. It sounded
like a jet taking off. It was the aircraft maintainence department checking and servicing jet 
engines on the fantail of the ship. It sounded like a hand dryer in a rest room times a thousand.

* Sailors find their way around the ship using a bullseye. Jon's berthing location on the 
ship is 2-245-0. That means he is on deck two, compartment 245 back from the front of the ship, 
the zero means he is in the dead center of the ship between port (the left side of the ship) and 
starboard (the right side of the ship). After living on the ship since September 25th last year
Jon says he still gets lost once in awhile. Decks above the hangar bay are 01, 02, 03 etc., decks 
below the hangar bay are 1, 2, 3, etc. Compartments are numbered from the front of the ship to 
the back. Zero is the dead center of the ship between port and starboard, odd numers are used on 
port side and even numbers are used on the starboard side.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

* Last night after dinner, around 2100 hours, the tiger cruisers got to see a fifty 
caliber machine gun in action on the starboard side. It was dark and the tracers really 
lit up the sky. The Morale, Wellness and Recreation Department set up ping pong tables,
basketball, an inflatable boxing ring, sumo wrestling and other games for the tigers in
hangar bay 2. Monday afternoon we crossed another time zone and are now in San Diego time.
Yesterday, a tiger cruise member who works for Iowa Public TV contacted Jon to record a 
station promo. Jon is supposed to meet him after muster this morning. Twice a week the 
Carl Vinson publishes "The Carl Vinson Voice", the ships newspaper. The cover story in 
yesterday's edition spotlights the anniversary cruise of the parents of Lieutenant Luke 
Brown, Max and Nancy Brown of Wichita Kansas, who are on board celebrating their 34th 
wedding anniversary. The Vinson also has their own TV channel onboard to update the crew
on ship events and happenings. The crew has 24/7 access to e-mail, if the the ships internet
service is up and running. Access to the net, other than e-mail, is only available to certain 
ranks, for Jon that access is from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

* Yesterday afternoon I attended a frocking and awards ceremony in the forecastle of the 
Vinson. It was for Jon's Engineering Division to announce rank promotions and other awards during
their deployment. Each division holds two frockings per year. 

* Today is our last day at sea. The Morale, Wellness and Recreation has lined up bingo
for today. The department was also responsible for bringing members of the Green Bay Packers
on board after their Super Bowl win. The Vinson's Public Affairs Office is coordinating hosting
an NCAA basketball game between North Carolina and Michigan State on the carrier's flight deck
in November.

* Today was flyoff day for the pilots. The pilots flew off their planes and headed back to 
their land bases in California, Nevada, and New Mexico. There were 68 planes onboard when we 
boarded the Vinson in Hawaii. All but three of them flew off today. One was the plane that 
had an engine fire while landing after a combat mission, one had engine trouble today and could not 
be launched today, the third plane has the Carl Vinson's captains name, Bruce Lindsey, printed on 
it. We went to the crows nest and watched several F-18's take off. You have to wear ear protection 
and the sound is deafening. I have several videos with sound that I will post on klmj.com when I 
return home. 

* Today I was able to witness the aircraft elevators in operation. They raise and lower two 
F-18's(40 tons) from the hangar bay to the flight deck in 10 seconds. The ship has 4 aircraft 
elevators, three on the starboard side and one on the port side. The Carl Vinson has four steam 
operated catapalts to launch aircraft, and has five arresting gears that are used to land 
(snag) the planes when they land.

* The crew had us line up on the flight deck this afternoon to spell out "TIGER 2011". They
had a SeaHawk 60 in the air to take an aerial picture. I can't wait to see it. 

* Tomorrow a large crowd is expected to be pier side when we enter San Diego Bay. The 
sailors will be in their dress white uniforms and will man the rails around the ship. We have 
been told that tiger cruisers can man the rails with their sponsors. We are looking forward to it.

Craig Donnelly

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

     *   Last night was the best meal we had on the ship.  Steak and lobster.  All the planes
and helicopters are gone.  The hangar bay has been turned into a huge warehouse as air wing 
divisions prepare to move off the ship.  

     * For the first time last night USS Carl Vinson Captain Bruce Lindsey officially addressed
the Osama bin Laden burial at sea.  He advised the Carl Vinson sailors of situational awareness.
Do not talk with reporters about the incident. He said they could talk with their family, but
to advise their families not to discuss the incident further.  He stressed situational awareness,
citing a Russian news report that said Al Quida may retaliate against the crew of Carl Vinson.
Lindsey told the crew they've done their job, and done it well.  He told them to be safe, to relax,
and to enjoy their time off.  He said there was a big welcome home party last night for Carl
Vinson families and friends in San Diego at the USS Midway Museum.  The ship is scheduled to
enter San Diego Bay this morning around 8:00 and to dock at 9:30.  First off will be new fathers. 
I understand there are several, including one in Jon's Engineering Division.  He is excited to
see his five month old son.  Next will be tiger cruisers and their sponsors, followed by sailors
and the air wing. 

    * In the next 24 hours We will be posting more audio interviews, along with video clips shot
on the tiger cruise.  

Craig Donnelly