NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- While USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) undergoes its scheduled four-year refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman's shipyard in Newport News, Va., the intelligence team on board continues to provide critical information to help keep the crew safe, well informed and geopolitically aware.
Carl Vinson intelligence professionals are integral in providing information that helps the ship's security team determine proper force protection postures. They also provide Carl Vinson leadership with critical data used in making important command decisions.
"Our goal is to ensure the commanding officer is informed on the events going on both locally and worldwide that might have an impact on Carl Vinson and its crew," said Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class Regina Frazier, the ship's assistant special security officer.
While an operational carrier's intelligence staff consists primarily of enlisted intelligence specialists, the Carl Vinson intelligence team brings other rates into the fold so they can continue to perform work in an area somewhat related to their principal mission area during RCOH.
"Most of the IS personnel either are in a temporary additional duty status with other departments throughout the ship or have transferred," said Cryptologic Technician Technical 3rd Class Devon Cackowski. "The CTTs were drafted to fill the gap because of their ability to access classified information."
For newcomers to the staff, the job presents new challenges which help develop them into well-rounded intelligence professionals.
"The most difficult challenge was getting up in front of the officers and presenting the weekly department head and executive intelligence brief," said Cackowski. "After time, though, it became more and more natural."
Despite the apprehension the team faces when briefing the commanding officer and department heads, they develop a keen sense of pride due to the important and critical nature of their work.
"I love the pride that comes with knowing that I make a difference because of the job I do," said Cackowski.
For these Sailors, providing correct and concise information to the ship's leadership makes them important special advisors, and key parts of the decision-making processes that affect the entire Carl Vinson crew.
"Our contribution to the mission is to ensure that the chain of command has the information it needs to make the right decisions," said Frazier. "Without the intelligence team, our leaders would be far less tuned-in to local and worldwide events."
During RCOH, an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle, Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished. Additionally, 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/.