NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) "Gold Eagle" was awarded the 2006 Admiral Vern Clark Safety award during a ceremony in Washington D.C., April 3.
Carl Vinson's Commanding Officer, Capt. Ted Carter, received the award from the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Donald Winter.
"This award is a centerpiece of our mission," said Carter, "because it's not only a safety award, it's an operations award."
The award is named after retired Adm. Vern Clark who served as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) from July 21, 2000, until his retirement July 22, 2005, making his five-year tenure the second longest serving as CNO.
The "Gold Eagle" earned the prestigious award for its innovative safety planning directly improving overall safety for the command, as well as the crew's ability to create a climate where safety consideration is an integral part of the command's mission.
The award comes during Carl Vinson's Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard in Newport News, Va.
Cmdr. Dennis Mikeska, Carl Vinson's executive officer; Cmdr. Jeff Williams, Carl Vinson safety officer; and Carl Vinson's Sailors of the Year, also had the opportunity to attend the ceremony where the significance of the award was thoroughly captured.
During the ceremony, SECNAV had the chance to hear firsthand from Carl Vinson's deckplate Sailors how the ship has initiated efficient safety practices while undergoing RCOH.
But Carter said the significance of this award means more than the safe accomplishment of bringing Carl Vinson back for 25 additional years of service to the fleet.
"We are not just trying to protect our material, we are trying to protect our greatest asset -- our Sailors," said Carter.
Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled RCOH at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive shipyard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.