Below is a note from Navy Captain Bruce Lindsey to the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) family. Captain Kent Whalen relieved Lindsey as Carl Vinson’s commanding officer today.
VINSON highlights during Lindsey’s tenure included:
- A successful homeport shift from Norfolk to San Diego;
- A humanitarian and disaster relief operations as part of the U.S. government support to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake;
- A successful and historic deployment in support of ongoing ground operations in the Middle East, in which they served as the burial at sea platform for Osama Bin Laden;
- Host ship for the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic-helping to demonstrate and articulate the value of America’s Navy and carrier fleet to a new and unique viewing audience.
This note captures the close relationship, affection and fondness that develops between a commanding Officer and his/her Sailors and families during a command tour.
Dear Carl Vinson Families and Friends,
It is with an almost indescribable sense of pride that I bid you farewell today. Leading your Sailors, these amazing American Patriots and warriors, has been the highlight of my career. And bearing witness to the support you’ve provided us all has left me in awe more times than I could ever count. You’re the strongest group of people I’ve ever met and I can say with all honesty that you have been the backbone of every success Carl Vinson has enjoyed the last two years.
We talk about the strength of the Navy Family so often that leadership sometimes takes it for granted. I’ve tried not to do that and I hope I’ve succeeded because the credit you deserve is genuine. I’ve watched you bid farewell to your Sailors less than a month before Christmas two years in a row and I lost count of how many times I congratulated new fathers on the births of their children while we were off the coasts of foreign lands.
Your sacrifices have not been lost on me because, throughout my tour as Carl Vinson’s Commanding Officer, you showed me that the true keepers of the American spirit are the family members who love their Sailors dearly while we’re away defending and preserving freedom.
I leave Carl Vinson convinced that your loved ones are the best our Navy and our country, has to offer. They embody every ideal we hold dear. When Haiti was struck by one of the most horrific natural disasters in history, it was the Vinson Sailor who showed a kind of compassion that left the world shaking its collective head in wonder and admiration. I’ll never forget your Sailors working around the clock to help their fellow man. Young men and women with only mere months in uniform asked me for permission to board the next helicopter to the beach. It was the Carl Vinson Sailor who first befriended the Haitian children and gave them water, food, and hope. Those were your husbands and wives, sons and daughters. They were my Sailors and I’ll never forget them.
More than 70 percent of Carl Vinson had never deployed when we left San Diego last November. Yes, we took them around the horn when we brought the ship back to Southern California. But a combat deployment is a whole other matter. All they did was tackle every challenge and succeed. Everything I asked of this crew they did, and did better than anyone else. Every mission was accomplished beyond expectations. Every task from higher authority was carried out on time and to the most exacting of specifications. In May, a regularly scheduled deployment turned into a last minute mission that had the world’s attention, and your Sailors were magnificent.
We took them out again this November 30th, as you’re well aware. Captain Whalen will lead them on yet another combat deployment and they’ll succeed again. They’ll succeed because of the pride and professionalism they have in their service, their ship and their nation. Most of all, though, they’ll succeed again because of the support you provide us all on the home front. You have my most sincere thanks and appreciation for that and for all you do every day.
Thank you and good luck to each and every one of you. The honor and privilege has been all mine.
#12 CO, USS Carl Vinson
July 2009 to December 2011