By Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Thompson
Special to American Forces Press Service
ABOARD USS CARL VINSON IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA, Jan. 15, 2010 – 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.”
(Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Thompson serves in the USS Carl Vinson public affairs office.)
Carl Vinson is 1,092 ft (333 m) long, 257 ft (78 m) wide and is as high as a twenty-four-story building, at 244 feet (74 m). The super carrier can accommodate approximately 80 aircraft and has a flight deck 4.5 acres (18,000 m²) in size, using four elevators that are 3,880 ft² (360 m²) each to move planes between the flight deck and the hangar bay. With a combat load, Vinson displaces almost 97,000 tons and can accommodate 6,250 crewmembers. Her four distilling units can make 400,000 U.S. gallons (1,500 m³) of potable water a day; her food service divisions serve 18,000 meals per day. There are over 2,500 compartments on board requiring 2,520 tons (2.1 MW) of air conditioning capacity (enough to cool over 2,000 homes). The warship uses two Mark II stockless anchors that weigh 30 tons each, with each link of the anchor chain weighing 360 pounds (160 kg). She is currently equipped with 3 20 mm Phalanx CIWS mounts and 2 Sea Sparrow SAM launchers. The ship cost over $4.5 billion in 2007 dollars to manufacture.
Two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors are used for propulsion (the ship is capable of steaming more than three million miles before refueling) turning 4 five-bladed screws that weigh 66,220 pounds (30 t) each driving the ship at speeds over 30 knots (56 km/h).
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