NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Seven Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) visited Indianapolis July 27-28 where they participated as the Fleet Honorary command for the Navy sponsored NASCAR team during the Kroger 200 Bush-series race held at O'Reilly Raceway
Sailors visited the Indianapolis O'Reilly raceway park to support the No. 88 Navy "Accelerate Your Life" Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. They spent the day meeting the Navy's NASCAR race team and visiting with local citizens, and then joined local Sailors from Naval Recruiting District (NRD) Michigan to cheer on the Navy's NASCAR team from the grandstands.
Carl Vinson's delegation was led by Cmdr. John Harber, who said the visit was a chance for Carl Vinson Sailors to reach out to the city of Indianapolis and give them a glimpse of the pride and professionalism of the ship's crew.
"We wanted to show the people of Indianapolis a diverse and talented cross section of our crew," said Harber. "This trip gave our Sailors an opportunity to be ambassadors for the Navy, engage with local citizens, and bring USS Carl Vinson's name and reputation to an area that isn't normally exposed to a lot of Navy presence."
Sailors also visited with survivors from the USS Indianapolis (CA-35), which was sunk toward the end of World War II. During the visit to the Indiana war memorial, Sailors heard first-hand accounts of survival in battle from two World War II veterans and were able to explore the historical exhibit about the USS Indianapolis.
Ken McNamara, the executive vice president of the USS Indianapolis exhibit, said he was honored to host crew members from Carl Vinson. McNamara said the legacy of the USS Indianapolis is tied to the aircraft carrier's namesake -- Congressman Carl Vinson -- a member of the House of Representatives. Vinson's time in office exceeded that of anyone elected to the Congress of the United States since it first convened in 1798.
"Carl Vinson was the father of the two-ocean Navy," said McNamara. "His contributions are directly tied to USS Indianapolis, and all the ships that were part of the Pacific campaign during World War II."
After visiting the Indianapolis exhibit, Sailors were given the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and assist the Indiana chapter of Habitat for Humanity. This volunteer-opportunity gave crew members the chance to help the Indianapolis community.
"It was nice to be able to visit a city like Indianapolis, and leave knowing you did something to help people in need who live there," said Yeoman 1st Class Lakeshia Patterson.
The two-day visit provided crew members with a chance to break from normal routines and bring a piece of the Navy and the fleet to a city thankful for the service of the men and women of the U.S. Navy.
"This was a rewarding trip," said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Dustin Cercado. "Every event was great, and it was nice to hear so many people come up to us and thank us for our service to the country."
Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (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 for another 25 years or more of service.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.