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USS Carl Vinson first non-forward deployed carrier to stop at Yokosuka in 10 years

By Jake Thomas
USS Carl Vinson first non-forward deployed carrier to stop at Yokosuka in 10 years
The USS Carl Vinson, a San Diego-based aircraft carrier, made the first non-forward deployed port visit to Yokosuka, Japan, in nearly a decade. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The USS Carl Vinson has become the first non-forward deployed carrier to port at Yokosuka, Japan in nearly 10 years.

The stop at the port, located south of Tokyo, is intended to give the 70 aircraft and 5,000 crew members a chance to rest after being away for several months, the U.S. Navy said on Tuesday.

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In June, the Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was in Hawaii for training purposes, following a 17-month maintenance period in Washington state where it received upgrades to accommodate the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

More recently, the Vinson deployed from its home port in San Diego with an escort from the USS Higgins and other ships.

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While on deployment in August, the carrier and its strike group participated in a first joint military exercise for the first time with Britain's U.K. Carrier Strike Group 21.

"Our crew is excited and honored to have this opportunity for an on-installation port visit," Capt. P. Scott Miller, Vinson's commanding officer, said in Tuesday's press release.

"Carl Vinson, the embarked air wing and our strike group staffs are looking forward to this time of relaxation and a short pause from our underway time in support of global and regional stability," Miller said.

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As a COVID-19 precaution, crews were limited to the installation, according to the Navy. Fleet services set up an illuminated fleet landing area with barbecues, coolers, mist fans, refrigerators and over 500 tables and chairs.

Private vendors were brought in to sell Japanese souvenirs and trinkets that could normally be purchased off base and sailors were able to participate in many private associations' fundraising events.

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