Saturday, February 27, 2010

Carl Vinson Makes Port Call in Rio de Janeiro

The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) takes on fuel from the Nimitz-class carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an underway replenishment near South America. Both ships are participating in Operation Southern Seas. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joel Carlson/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class(SW/AW) Jason Thompson, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

RIO DE JANERIO, Brazil (NNS) -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrived in Rio de Janeiro Feb. 26 as part of Southern Seas 2010, a component of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Partnership of the Americas.

"South America is a hugely important part of the world and so it's very important that our Navy understand and appreciate the relationships, cultures and capabilities of our partner navies," said Rear Adm. Ted Branch, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1. "So this gives us a great opportunity as a Navy to foster those relationships, improve our understanding and our cooperation and interoperability with partner navies in the region."

Carl Vinson's arrival follows a recent visit by Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Rear Adm. Victor Guillory during which he expressed appreciation for the outstanding support provided by the Brazilian Navy to the U.S. during its training periods and regional exercises. Branch went on to say these interactions only reinforce South American partnerships.

"When you visit other countries and you talk to the people, you interact with other people and places, my experience is you always come away with a real appreciation, a more in-depth knowledge of their culture and their identity, and there's always a greater a degree of understanding," said Branch. "That mutual understanding and respect gained through port visits and theater-security cooperation and interaction like that are always valuable to the whole world because it promotes understanding and fosters good relationships."

After more than three weeks at sea, the port call is the first occasion for Carl Vinson's crew to interact with locals and experience genuine South American culture.

"The crew has performed admirably," said Carl Vinson Commanding Officer Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey. "After their swift and remarkable response to Haiti and a brief visit in Mayport, Fla., this chance to experience Brazilian culture is exciting. The crew is taking advantage of our MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) tours and is looking forward to the interaction."

Also making the port call is USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 1 and air wing components from CVW 17, VFA 81, VAW 125, VRC 40, and HS 15, which are all currently assigned to CSG 1.

Nearly all of the tours offered by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department sold out three days prior to the port visit.

Carl Vinson will continue with Southern Seas 2010 and meet with more South American military and civilian representatives and take advantage of unique port calls as part of a scheduled homeport shift.