Friday, January 15, 2010

USS Carl Vinson Arrives in Haiti

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Thompson, Special to American Forces Press Service

ABOARD USS CARL VINSON IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA - The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived off the coast of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, today to begin humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

"Our initial focus is to concentrate on saving lives while providing first-responder support to the people of Haiti," said Navy Rear Adm. Ted N. Branch, commander of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and of the sea-based portion of the Navy's humanitarian-support mission in the earthquake-stricken nation. "Our assistance here reflects our nation's compassion and commitment to those impacted by this tragedy."

The carrier arrived with a robust airlift capability, picking up extra helicopters while in transit that will prove essential during the mission.

"When tasked to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Haiti, we immediately headed to Mayport, Fla., at more than 30 knots and loaded 19 helicopters, personnel and support equipment from five different East Coast Navy squadrons in less than eight hours," said Navy Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey, Carl Vinson commanding officer. "There is no other platform that can do all of that so quickly."