More than 5,000 members of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) reunited with family and friends Thursday morning as the aircraft carrier returned home to San Diego after a short deployment to the western Pacific region.
Vinson’s three-month assignment with its embarked Carrier Air Wing 2 included a historic visit to Vietnam, the first for a U.S. aircraft carrier since the end of the Vietnam War. The carrier arrived at its home berth at North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, Calif., on a cool, sunny morning.
“We safely conducted our mission in a complex operating environment,” said Rear Adm. John Fuller, who commands the Carl Vinson Strike Group, said in a news release posted on the carrier’s Facebook page. “I give full credit to our sailors. They demonstrated outstanding readiness, watchstanding and navigational skill, and represented our nation and Navy with great pride and professionalism. I am very pleased with what we accomplished at sea and ashore as a team.”
Vinson deployed with its strike group that included guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) and guided-missile destroyers USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) and USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112), all from Destroyer Squadron 1. Meyer returned home Thursday shortly after Vinson, pulling into its berth at Naval Base San Diego.
Wayne E. Meyer and its crew of 320 also visited Vietnam, along with Malaysia, Guam and Hawaii, the Navy announced. The destroyer is slated to make a homeport change from San Diego to Hawaii later this summer.
Lake Champlain will return to San Diego after completing scheduled operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility, while Hawaii-based Michael Murphy will return to its homeport at Pearl Harbor, the Navy announced. Murphy, with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, remained in the southwestern Pacific and is participating in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative mission, according to an update posted Wednesday on the ship’s Facebook page. Most recently, the ship joined in joint maritime security patrols to assist in thwarting illegal fishing in the region.
The deployment marked the second but first major “3rd Fleet Forward” deployment concept that kept the carrier under the command and control of the San Diego-based 3rd Fleet even as the ship crossed the international date line into the Japan-based 7th Fleet region.