Carl Vinson Sailors Pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Story Number: NNS080129-11Release Date: 1/29/2008 3:38:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Monika Rios, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Sailors gathered together Jan. 25 to pay a special tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at an observance organized by the ship's American Heritage Committee (AHOC).

The tribute commemorated King's vision of equality and highlighted his historic struggle as a staunch advocate for civil rights.

The ceremony began with a welcome speech by the AHOC chairman, Yeoman 2nd Class (SW) Tina Johnson, followed by a time line of King's life and legacy. After a welcome from Commanding Officer, Capt. Ted Carter, guest speaker Rev. Francys Johnson, brother of Tina Johnson, took the floor and spoke to Sailors about King's vision for a better American society.

After a re-delivery of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech by Rev. Johnson, the modern-day civil rights leader made a resounding impact on crew members, according to Boatswain's Mate Seaman Recruit Brad Yanders, from Carl Vinson's Deck Department.

"I felt that this particular observance not only sent an informative message to the crew, but also a very powerful and enthusiastic message of truth," said yanders. "Listening to Rev. Johnson made me realize how society was back then, and just how far we have come."

Overall, the tribute delivered a positive message to the crew and proved to be a success. For many Carl Vinson Sailors, the ceremony was enlightening and moving, and touched crew members from all races and ranks.

"After hearing Dr. Johnson speak, I truly felt moved," said Postal Clerk 2nd Class Monica Strong, from Carl Vinson's Supply Department. "I believe that Dr. King's dream continues to come true each and every day. Here on Carl Vinson, we embody his vision with our diversity and how we utilize this strength to come together and complete our mission as one team."

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.

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