PHILIPPINE SEA -- Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 departed Guam after a scheduled four-day port visit, Feb. 14.
While in Guam, Carl Vinson Sailors hosted distinguished visitors, toured local sites, and participated in community relations projects with various charitable organizations on the island.
Commander, Carrier Strike Group 1, Rear Adm. James Kilby said the port visit was a welcome opportunity for Sailors to recharge after weeks of constant training.
"A few weeks before we came to Guam, we were able to conduct training as we pushed further west, which was very valuable for the entire strike group," said Kilby. "After five weeks of work at sea, Sailors were able to see Guam, experience the rich culture, and really get re-energized. Everyone here in Guam has been so inviting and gracious. We are fortunate to have come here."
Among the events organized by Carl Vinson's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) chapter were a zip-lining excursion, a city tour, a sunset dinner cruise, and a scuba diving certification course.
Aviation Ordnance man 1st Class Hieu Nguyen, a Carl Vinson Sailor and MWR patron, said the events helped him more fully experience the history and culture of Guam.
"The events were a great way to visit Guam," said Nguyen. "Doing the tours and events gave me a full view of the culture and spirit of the island."
While the visit was important to Carl Vinson Sailors, the port call was also important to the people of Guam.
Jeff Jones, chairman of the armed forces committee for the Guam Chamber of Commerce, said Sailors provide an economic boost for the island.
"It has been fantastic having the Sailors here for many reasons," said Jones. "From an economic standpoint, it is a great boost to our economy to have 5,000 Sailors participating in water sports, dining at the restaurants, and staying in the hotels."
Jones said in addition to the economic impact, Carl Vinson's visit is a way to strengthen the historic ties between Guam and the U.S. Navy.
"Guam has a long history of supporting the military, especially the Navy," said Jones. "I think it is great for the island to be able to see the carrier in the harbor and continue to build on the great relationship Guam has with the Navy."
Carl Vinson Sailors worked to strengthen the relationship through participation in three community relations events.
Lt. Cmdr. Jon Settlemoir, a Navy chaplain assigned to Carl Vinson, said Sailors gave back to the people of Guam through a visit to the Guam Animals in Need shelter and by spending time at two senior citizen community centers.
"At the shelter, Sailors mowed grass, provided general labor for chores, and socialized with the animals," said Settlemoir. "At the community centers, we helped serve meals, played bingo, and visited the seniors."
Settlemoir said events like these go a long way in showing the strike group's appreciation to host nations.
"These events create a sense of camaraderie amongst the Sailors who participate," said Settlemoir. "Moreover, they demonstrate to our friends and allies that Carl Vinson Sailors truly care."
For more than 70 years, the U.S. Navy has maintained a persistent naval presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The Navy is committed to continuing this forward presence, which is focused on stability, regional cooperation, and economic prosperity for all nations.
Carl Vinson has deployed to the region several times, starting with a deployment to the western Pacific in 1983 one year after commissioning. Most recently in 2015, Carl Vinson conducted port visits and exercises with regional navies in the South China Sea.