ON JULY 31, the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) arrived at its new homeport, Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, at the end of a seven-month round-the-world cruise. The change of homeport, from Naval Station Bremerton, Washington, has been undertaken to enable the carrier to undergo a 36-month Refuelling Complex Overhaul (RCOM) in Virginia. Once the RCOH begins in November, the vessel will spend nearly 24 months in dry dock for planned repairs and the installation of new computer software, combat systems, propulsion controls and aviation support assets.
Over the seven-month cruise, USS Curl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW-9) launched over 6,500 sorties, and flew more than 20,000 flight hours in maritime operations in the Pacific, Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. The carrier and CVW-9 also spent a number of months in the Persian Gulf supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was the inaugural cruise for Strike Fighter Squadron 154 (VFA-154) ‘Black Knights’, flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet embarked as part of CVW-9. Previously, the squadron flew the F-14B as Fighter Squadron 154 (VF-154) as part of CVW-5 based at NAF Atsugi, Japan.