6,000 Sailors, Marines, Airmen To Return To San Diego On Wednesday
10:13 AM, Jun 14, 2011
The 6,000 sailors, Marines and airmen aboard the USS Carl Vinson feel "good" about their part in a history-making mission that included the burial at sea of terrorist Osama bin Laden, the San Diego-based aircraft carrier's commanding officer said on Monday."They are feeling good about what they accomplished in this mission," Capt. Bruce Lindsey told reporters in a conference call.The vessel is scheduled to return to San Diego on Wednesday."They did some interesting things," Lindsey said of his crew, though he was unable to discuss specifics of the bin Laden operation."They've been a part of history. They should be very proud of the role they played," he said.The 6 1/2-month deployment took the crew to the western Pacific Ocean and the northern Arabian Sea, where Navy SEALS brought them the body of bin Laden, who was gunned down in a May 1 raid in Pakistan.Lindsey was asked about a Fallbrook man's announcement on Sunday that he wants to find the body of the terrorist to prove he is really dead."That'll be an interesting mission; I hope he has a lot of money," Lindsey responded. "He'll have to look a long time."The men and women serving aboard the Carl Vinson are being trained to watch for security threats in case someone wants to use them to avenge bin Laden's death, he said.He said the Navy teaches them to maintain "situational awareness" by keeping "their heads on a swivel" as part of their normal duties, and now the sailors have to learn to do the same in their private lives."I can tell you we recognize this, and we'll take appropriate precautions," Lindsey said.More than 20 years ago, a minivan belonging to the captain of the cruiser USS Vincennes was damaged by a pipe bomb in San Diego, just months after the ship accidentally fired a missile that shot down an Iranian airliner. The captain's wife, the only occupant of the vehicle, escaped serious injury in the unsolved bombing.Also coming home this week are Carrier Air Wing 17, the cruiser USS Bunker Hill, and destroyers USS Gridley and USS Stockdale.