Aircraft carrier, crew arrive in new homeport of San Diego

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its crew of about 3,500 arrived Monday at its new homeport of San Diego, according to the Navy.

“San Diego has a long history and rewarding relationship with U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and our sailors are excited to be an active and positive part of the San Diego community,” Capt. Bruce Lindsey, the ship’s commanding officer, said in a statement.

According to the Navy, the homeporting of the Carl Vinson in San Diego will have a more than $400 million annual impact on the local economy.

San Diego is home to two other aircraft carriers, the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan. However, the Nimitz is scheduled to temporarily relocate to Bremerton, Wash., later this year.

The Carl Vinson was en route to San Diego from Virginia in January when it was diverted to Port-au-Prince to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

The crew of the carrier delivered almost 3 million pounds of food, water and medical supplies to Haiti, according to the Navy. The ship’s helicopter air wing also flew 1,299 sorties and conducted 1,152 medical evacuations. Sixty patients were treated on board the Carl Vinson by the ship’s medical team.

Exercises were also conducted with the navies of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico.

The nuclear-powered Carl Vinson, commissioned in 1982, was sent to Newport News, Va., in 2005 for an overhaul, including refueling, upgrading its infrastructure for another 25 years and modernizing combat systems.

Departing San Diego today is the guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift. The ship and its crew of about 200 will deploy to the Western Pacific to take part in a readiness and training exercise.