Tag Archives: USS Carl Vinson

165,000 tons of Rock & Roll, Ready for Their Close-up

30 Years Ago Today: A port beam view of Forrestal-class supercarriers, San Diego-homeported USS Ranger (CV-61) with Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) aboard, and her sister, the Japan-based USS Independence (CV-62) with CVW-5 embarked, underway in the Perian Gulf during Operation Southern Watch, a multinational effort establishing a no-fly zone for Iraqi aircraft south of the 32nd parallel in Saddam-era Iraq. Taken on 16 September 1992.

U.S. Navy photo DN-ST-93-00101by PH2 Andrew C. Heuer, via the National Archives.

Note the mix of F-14As (VF-154, VF-21), F-18Cs (VFA-192, VFA-195,), A-6Es (VA-115), SH-3Hs (HS-12), EA-6B Prowlers (VAQ-136), and S-3Bs (VS-21) aboard Indy and the similar complement of aircraft (sans Hornets) of VF-1, VF-2, VA-145, VA-155, VAQ-131, HS-14, and VS-38 on Ranger. These were some of the final deployments for the Tomcat, Intruder, Sea King, and Viking, who would be withdrawn within the next decade.

Indy, commissioned in 1959, had just finished filming Flight of the Intruder aboard prior to her deployment to the Gulf War and was decommissioned only six years after this image. Stricken in 2004, she has since been scrapped.

Ranger, commissioned in 1957, earned 13 battle stars for service during the Vietnam War, and like her sister, was a movie star, having been used to film scenes for Top Gun. She was decommissioned just a year after the above image was snapped, stricken the same day as Indy, and similarly scrapped.

CVW-5 endures, still based in Japan in association with the forward-deployed carrier named after a movie star– USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).

Meanwhile, CVW-2 is attached to San Diego’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 and the flagship USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)– which due to her record of West Coast homeports has been a filming location for JAG, Crimson Tide, Behind Enemy Lines, and her own documentary series, 1995’s excellent Fortress at Sea.

The Queen Waves Goodbye to her most Powerful Consort

How’s this for a great photo-ex? Triple flattops.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, USS Carl Vinson, and JMSDF Izumo-class helicopter destroyer JS Kaga transiting in formation with an airborne flypast comprising (left to right): F-35B (617 Sqn), F-35C (VFA-147), F/A-18E Super Hornet (VFA-192), E/A-18G Growler (VAQ-136), E-2D Hawkeye (VAW-113), F/A-18F (VFA-2), F/A-18E (VFA-113), F-35C (VFA-147) and F-35B (USMC VMFA-211). In the background, the eagle-eyed will see pair of Sea Hawk helicopters.

One of the most unsung members of the UK Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), formed for the inaugural deployment of the largest British aircraft carrier in history, has been the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG-68). While a 24-year-old Flight I Burke, Sully’s Aegis suite and SM-2 missiles are still much more effective against high-end threats than the other two air-defense escorts of the task force, the Type 45 destroyers HMS Diamond (D34) and HMS Defender (D36)— which are reportedly plagued by “technical issues” as a class.

Sailing from her DESRON 28 homeport at Mayport on 19 April 2020, bound for the United Kingdom in order to join the British carrier strike group for deployment, Sully finally broke away from CSG21 on 20 October 2021, headed home after some 18 months on loan to the RN.

RN photo

“Thank you and fair winds,” noted First Sea Lord, ADM Tony Radakin.

Of course, and somewhat ironically, Sully is named for a five-pack of tough Irish-American brothers. Who better to escort the Queen?

The Sullivan brothers on board USS Juneau Joe, Frank, Al, Matt, and George. NH 52362

Hard to believe one of these is not an aircraft carrier

PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 20, 2018) Amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), front, transits the Pacific Ocean conducting a passing exercise next to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Released)

Of course, America can operate 16 or more F-35Bs, generating 40 sorties in a 14-hour period, which is more than most of the world’s carriers out there, and the last America (CV-66) was a full-fledged carrier that held the line for 30 years during the Cold War, but hey…

Built at Pascagoula and commissioned Oct. 2014, the current America served for almost three years as a test bed for the class and non-carrier operations of the F-35B while underway and is just now finishing up her maiden deployment, a seven-month cruise as the flag of her ARG hosting the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Her cruise highlights:

Navy’s newest PBs seem to be moving right along

Sailors assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron Two (CRS-2), conduct a live-fire weapons exercise on a Mark VI Patrol Boat in Santa Rita, Guam, Sept. 30, 2016. CRS-2 is assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75, the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, diving engineering and construction, and underwater construction in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez)

The U.S. Navy Mark VI patrol boat is a very well-armed successor to classic PT boats of WWII (sans torpedoes), Nasty boats of Vietnam, and Cold War-era PB Mk IIIs. The Mk IIIs, a heavily  armed 65-foot light gunboat, was replaced by the Mk V SOC (Special Operations Craft), a somewhat lighter armed 82-foot go fast and the 170-foot Cyclone-class patrol ships.

Now the Navy coughed up the Mk VI back in 2012, and plan on obtaining as many as 48 of these boats and are deployed in two separate strategic areas of operation: Commander, Task Force (CTF) 56 in Bahrain and CTF 75 in Guam.

161104-N-ZC343-293 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 4, 2016) A U.S. Navy Mark VI patrol boat wards off a simulated attacker during show of force strait transit exercise involving aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and Carrier Strike Group 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Joe Kane/Released)

161104-N-ZC343-293 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 4, 2016) A U.S. Navy Mark VI patrol boat wards off a simulated attacker during show of force strait transit exercise involving aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and Carrier Strike Group 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Joe Kane/Released)

At $6-million a pop they are twice as expensive as USCG 87-foot WPBs and with much shorter legs, but they have huge teeth. Notice the 25mm MK38 Mod 2 forward and aft, the M2 RWS mount atop the wheelhouse, and the four crew-served mounts amidships and aft for Dillion mini-guns, M240Gs, MK19 grenade launchers, or other party favors. Of course these would be toast in a defended environment like the China Sea, but are gold for choke points like the Persian Gulf, anti-pirate ops, littoral warfare against asymmetric threats etc.

They also provide a persistent capability to patrol shallow littoral areas for the purpose of force protection for U.S. and coalition forces, as well as safeguarding critical infrastructure.

Sailors assigned to Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3 Mark VI boat crew provided exercise support during USS Carl Vinson’s (CVN 70) Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX), Nov. 4, marking a first for the patrol boat.

Operating off the California coast, the MK VI crew assisted with the COMPTUEX, which aligned with the squadron’s ongoing pre-deployment training.

“The event also coincided with our Final Evaluation Problem as we reach the end of our training cycle and prepare to step off for the squadron’s upcoming deployment,” said Cmdr. Mark Postill, commanding officer, CRS 3.

13.5 acres of Rock and Roll

4283 × 2422 click to bigup

4283 × 2422 click to bigup

Three Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) are pierside at Naval Air Station North Island. (U.S. Navy photo 150612-N-NI474-228 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel M. Young/Released).

The Navy likes to call the big Nimitz class carriers “4.5 acres of sovereign and mobile American territory,” or “90,000-tons of diplomacy.”

Pictured is very nearly more active front-line aircraft carrier deck space than in the rest of the world combined.