By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Travis Alston, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 5,100 Sailors and embarked family members and friends, referred to as Tigers, made a triumphant return to their homeport of San Diego, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), June 4.
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, departed the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), April 16, after six months of combat operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Over the course of the nearly 10-month Western Pacific
deployment, supporting strike operations in Iraq and Syria, CVW 17 successfully flew 12,300 sorties, including 2,382 combat missions and dropped more than a half a million pounds of ordnance in the fight against ISIS.
Amid combat operations, Carl Vinson Sailors earned a number of awards and accreditations including the Capt. Edward F. Ney Award for Food Service Excellence, the 2014 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Afloat Safety Award, and more than $4,766,100 in signing reenlistment bonuses.
"The successful completion of such a lengthy deployment is a testament to the high quality of men and women who volunteer to serve in our United States Navy," said Rear Adm. Chris Grady, commander, Carrier Strike Group 1. "Whether supporting strike operations over Iraq and Syria or being ambassadors during overseas port visits, these Sailors represented our country with great distinction and honor. I'm extremely proud and honored to lead this team."
Team Vinson hosted the Chief of Naval Operations Adm.
Jonathan Greenert, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens, numerous foreign dignitaries, celebrities and professional athletes while in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation.
"It was great to be on board Carl Vinson to see what this amazing crew does first-hand," said Greenert during an all-hands call on board the ship, Nov, 27, 2014. "There is no question in my mind that this ship and her crew is an example of true excellence, and I want to thank the crew for their crucial role in making that a reality."
Between standing watch and performing their round-the-clock duties to support the mission, more than 1,400 Sailors completed the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) and Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) programs, gaining a deeper knowledge of the carrier's warfighting ability.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Derrick Body earned both qualifications during this deployment period.
"Before we departed San Diego, I knew I had to take
advantage of what little spare time I would have while on deployment," said Body. "I want to be a good example and encourage younger Sailors that if I can do it, they can too."
Sailors also pursued higher education goals, with crew members enrolling and completing 969 Navy College Program Afloat College Education (NCPACE) classes.
"Regardless of all the accolades or achievements, nothing can compare to the feeling of returning home to loved ones," said Carl Vinson Command Master Chief Marty Barnholtz.
"I have been on 12 deployments and it never gets easy leaving loved ones behind. This crew has proven why we are America's Favorite Carrier. We have been answering the nation's call for the past 10 months, now it's time to enjoy some much deserved time with our families and friends."
The Carl Vinson and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 crew returned pierside to their homeport of San Diego after completing a nearly 10-month deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and maritime and theater security operation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation.