FORT MONROE, Va. (NNS) -- Capt. Walter E. Carter Jr. relieved Capt. Kevin M. Donegan Oct. 5 as commanding officer of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a change of command ceremony at Ft. Monroe, Va.
Prior to turning over command to Carter, Donegan told the crew how much of an honor it was to serve not just as their commanding officer, but as their shipmate.
"What I'm really going to miss is working every day with 5,000 superstars while deployed or the 3,000 while we're in port," said Donegan. "They're the engine that drives our nation, they are what inspire me and they are what I will miss. [Capt. Carter,] rest assured you are getting a great ship, but more importantly, you are getting the best crew of Sailors in the United States Navy. Crew of Carl Vinson, it was my honor to serve with you."
Donegan assumed command of Vinson in May 2004. Under his leadership, the ship earned the Battle "E," while executing an accelerated work-up cycle and completing the simultaneous planning for both a change of homeport to Virginia and a Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH).
In January 2005, Donegan led Carl Vinson on a seven-month, around-the-world combat deployment in support of the global war on terrorism, which included four months of operations in the Persian Gulf.
Carter comes to Carl Vinson after relinquishing his position as deputy, joint force trainer, operations, and chief of staff, Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, Va.
"I am humbled, honored and extremely excited to be the 11th commanding officer of this magnificent national asset, USS Carl Vinson," said Carter. "We're building for a new era, our ship...our people...our legacy. The successful completion of this multi-billion dollar [refueling complex overhaul] on time and on budget is not a luxury, but a necessity to support the next generation of warfighters. I embrace this leadership opportunity and know that the entire project team is energized and focused to return to action the Carl Vinson motto: vis per mare, 'Power from the Sea.'"
A native of Pascoag, R.I., Carter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981 and following training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., was designated a naval flight officer in 1982. He has accumulated more than 5,750 flight hours in F-14 Tomcat and F-4 Phantom aircraft, with 1,805 carrier arrested landings aboard 17 different aircraft carriers, including the 12 active carriers.
Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare her for another 25 years or more of service.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.