PACIFIC OCEAN -- Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) hosted the highest ranking Vietnamese official to ever embark a U.S. aircraft carrier, Oct. 19.
Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, deputy minister of National Defense for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and 11 other Vietnamese military officials embarked Carl Vinson while the ship conducted carrier qualifications off the coast of Southern California. The delegation interacted with crew members, ate lunch with strike group leaders and observed flight operations during the visit.
"This is a historic day and we are very honored to have you visit Carl Vinson," said Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Carrier Strike Group 1, as he met with Vinh. "We are very pleased to be a part of this maritime cooperation."
The strike group is comprised of an aircraft carrier, air wing, cruiser and several guided-missile destroyers. The strike group's flagship, Carl Vinson, consists of more than 3,000 personnel who operate and maintain the carrier. When deployed overseas, it operates with more than 60 aircraft and 2,000 additional Sailors from the air wing.
"I was very impressed with the professionalism and the working level of the whole Carl Vinson crew," said Vinh.
The strike group, which returned from a 6-month deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region in June, provides a range of capabilities including promoting regional maritime partnerships, providing maritime security and maintaining freedom of navigation.
"I think that maritime cooperation is one of the areas where America and Vietnam can cooperate together," said Vinh.
Carl Vinson is America's third Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship's primary mission is to support the carrier air wing when conducting operations at sea.