The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), nicknamed the Gold Eagle, is a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier. On March 15, 1980 when she was christened, Carl Vinson, a US Congressman of Georgia, became the first living American to have a U.S. Navy ship named after him. In Norfolk, Virginia as she was launched for the first time, a 96 year old Vinson look on as the first ever to see "his" ship at sea. (Note: I've always thought it a bit strange to refer to a ship named Carl as "she" but it is proper to refer to any ship in a feminine context regardless of her namesake.)
Currently she is under the command of Captain Richard B. Wren. She is a part of the Pacific Feet and her homeport is the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington (as of 09/25/02).
These Nimitz-class nuclear "super carriers" are absolutely amazing. Their flight decks is longer than three football fields, they are 24 stories tall, and weight 200 million pounds (fully loaded). They are so big in fact that one nuclear reactor doesn't cut it, they need two. They are sometimes referred to as floating cities as it is common to have 5000 to 6000 people aboard.
I have a good friend that works in the engine room of the Gold Eagle. Recently I met some sailors only to find out they also worked in the same engine room. When I mentioned my friend they had no idea who he was. They probably worked on the same equipment, but on different shifts, bunked in different quarters, and ate in different messes. This is quite possible on a ship so large.
Despite what Owen Wilson might say, the Gold Eagle was the star of the motion picture Behind Enemy Lines. In cooperation with the Navy, 20th Century Fox's crew of 80 stayed aboard for nearly two weeks while filming off the coast of Southern California. The movie is a fictional story about a downed F/A-18 Super Hornet over Bosnia and the struggle of its fight officer (played by Owen Wilson) to make it back to the ship. Nearly 200 of the Gold Eagle's crew were used in the movie as extras, three of which had speaking roles. Once the movie was cut and finalized, 3000 of the ship's crew attended the movie's international premier on her flight deck while underway in the Arabian Sea.
Here are some of her stats:
- Nicknames: Gold Eagle, America's Favorite Carrier, Starship Vinson
- Complement: 5900 people, 90+ aircraft
- Propulsion: Steam turbines (nuclear)
- Reactors: 2
- Propellers: 4, at 21 feet high
- Speed: 30+ knots
- Height, Keel to mast: 244
- Length over flight deck: 1,092 feet
- Area of flight deck: 4.5 Acres
- Aircraft elevators: 4
- Aircraft hangers: 3
- Displacement, light: 78,000 tons
- Displacement, full: 101,000 tons
The Seal of USS Carl Vinson
The seal of USS Carl Vinson shows an eagle, wings spread and talons extended, carrying a banner in its beak. The eagle is emblematic of the nation and the ship's motto, and also represents the power that resides in the ship's aircraft. The eagle flies in the form of a stylized letter "V," the initial of the ship's namesake, Congressman Carl Vinson. The "V" also represents the ships hull when viewed bow-on. Inscribed on the banner the eagle carries is the Latin Phrase "Vis Per Mare" which means "Strength from the Sea."