Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson returns home from Asia

ost of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group sailed home to North Island and San Diego Thursday, but a pair of Navy warships remain at sea.

The carrier Carl Vinson parked at the Naval Air Station North Island pier shortly after 9 a.m., with the destroyer Wayne E. Meyer arriving at Naval Base San Diego shortly after, completing a three-month deployment highlighted by an historic visit to Vietnam.

Homeported in San Diego, the guided-missile cruiser Lake Champlain and Hawaii-based destroyer Michael Murphy are slated to conduct exercises in the Pacific Ocean before wrapping up their truncated tours, too.

Carrier strike groups typically will deploy to sea for more than six months after revamping the ships and retraining crews for a year or more at home.

The Carl Vinsons 46,000-mile tour across the Western Pacific began only six months after returning to North Island but the Navy capped the deployment at three months to ease the burden on sailors and their families.

It was a very smooth deployment, said Capt. Douglas Verissimo, the carriers skipper. I cant tell you how proud I am with the way they handled the visit to Vietnam.

Accompanied by the Lake Champlain and the Wayne E. Meyer, the early March port call in Danang marked the first time an American carrier had visited Vietnam since the fall of Saigon in 1975, which ended two decades of American efforts to defeat the communist government in Hanoi.

The nations normalized relations 20 years later and since 2003 have sought to boost ties t....

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