USS Carl Vinson, homeported in Bremerton, Washington, is the third Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only 11 operational aircraft carriers in the Navy today. Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Vinson. Approximately 3,000 men and women make up the ship’s company, and they keep all parts of the aircraft carrier running. They do everything from preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,000 sailors comprise the air wing, the people who fly and maintain the aircraft aboard the ship.
Vinson, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 60 attack fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take launch and land aboard the carrier at sea.
Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship, and these same planes return to the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft. All of this makes Vinson a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, often the first response to a global crisis because of an aircraft carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.
The ship was commissioned in 1982 and named after former Georgia Congressman, Carl Vinson.
A member of the United States House of Representatives for 50 years, he was, for 29 years, the Chairman of the House Naval Affairs and Armed Services Committee. Vinson was the principal sponsor of the so-called "Vinson Acts," culminating in the Two-Ocean Navy Act of 1940, which provided for the massive naval shipbuilding effort in World War II.