USS CARL VINSON (NNS) -- The crew of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was awarded the 2004 Battle Efficiency Award (Battle "E") for West Coast carriers April 18.
The hard-earned award was announced to the crew in a naval message from Vice Adm. James Zortman, commander of Naval Air Forces. This award marks the "Gold Eagle's" fourth in 25 years of honorable service. Vinson received its last Battle E in 2002.
For some Sailors, such as Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Robert Comer, who served aboard Vinson throughout 2004, the recognition serves as the culmination of vigilance and hard work. Comer remembered the work that went into earning the Battle E.
"Not long after I arrived, the ship went through the [Operational Reactor Safeguards Examination], followed by the [Boad of Inspection and Survey], which was very difficult and took a long time to prepare for, but we survived it all with success," said Comer. "The crew always seemed to know exactly how to handle things. We worked together and made it happen. It's that simple.
"I'm proud to be a part of a ship that can come together when they need to and operate under any circumstance," Comer added. "We for sure earned that Battle E."
The crew also received 10 departmental awards as part of the Battle E assessment: The Air Yellow "E," Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department Black "E," Combat Systems Green "CS," Damage Control Red "DC," Deck Crossed Anchors with Black "D," Engineering Red "E," Medical Blue "M," Navigation White Ship's Wheel, Supply Blue "E" and Weapons Black "W."
The Battle E recognizes a command's sustained superior performance in an operational environment through the previous calendar year. To be placed in contention for the efficiency award, a ship must be nominated by its immediate superior in command, and earn a minimum of three of five command excellence awards. These include the Supply and Management Awards; Type Commander Ship's Safety; Maritime Excellence, Engineering and Survivability; and the Command, Control and Information Warfare Excellence.
"Superb job to the whole team," said Vinson's Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Donegan. "It says a lot for two reasons - one, you worked hard, and two, it was earned during a time period when we did a tremendous amount, including getting the ship ready to deploy without a [planned incremental availability].
"There is no possible way we could hope to win a Battle E without a superb team, and Carrier Air Wing 9 and DESRON (Destroyer Squadron) 31 and the staffs worked as a team with us to make this great warship combat effective," he added. "Our teamwork with each of those organizations was the key to Carl Vinson getting this award."
Carl Vinson is currently deployed to the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier is conducting operations in support of multinational forces in Iraq and maritime security operations in the Gulf in order to set the conditions for security and stability in the region.
The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is comprised of Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 31, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the guided-missile destroyers USS O'Kane (DDG 77) and USS Mustin (DDG 89), the fast-combat support ship USS Camden (AOE 2) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Det. 9.
The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 9 include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146, VFA-147, VFA-154, Marine Strike Fighter Squadron (VMFA) 323, Sea Control Squadron (VS) 33, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138, Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 8.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70.