In This Issue: A Letter From Sea | Senior Chief Burgeouis | U.S. Defense Chief Honors 9/11 Victims At New Memorial
Vol 02 No 62 | September 9, 2011
Vinson Remembers STORY BY
MC2 (SW/AW) Lori D. Bent | USS Carl Vinson Staff Writer
early a decade has passed since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but today USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Sailors walk the carrier’s deckplates knowing that the reason that many of them serve with honor is tied directly to a day known, now, as simply “9/11”. As Vinson and crew prepare for an upcoming Western Pacific deployment, they pause to reflect on a time in their life and career that was affected by the events that took place on the morning of 9/11. Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 were rounding the southern tip of India en route to the Arabian Sea when the ship was called to duty in the wake of the terrorist attack on U.S. soil. On September 12, 2001 the Battle Group arrived to where they would spend the next three months operating in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
(OEF). “History will record that the USS Carl Vinson Battle Group made the most significant contribution to our nation’s military response to the tragic events of September 11,” said then Vice Adm. C. W. Moore Jr, who was Commander Fifth Fleet at the time of the attack in an address to the crew. Branch Chief of Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) IM-2 Division Chief Aircrew Survival Equipmentman (AW/SW) Jose Castillo was a second class petty officer attached to Helicopter Attack Squadron (HS) 6 embarked on board Vinson at the time of the attack. “It was night time and we had just finished flight operations for the day when I walked into my shop on the O-3 level,” he said. “The TV was on and I asked what movie was being shown. It wasn’t a movie, it was CNN.” Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class (SW/AW) Anthony Tatum, a native of San Jose, Continue ‘9/11’ on Pg. 5
The Carl Vinson Voice is an internal document produced by and for the crew of the USS Carl Vinson and their families. Its contents do not necessarily ref lect the official views of the U.S. Government or the Departments of Defense or the Navy and do not imply any endorsement thereby.
Illustration By: MC2 (SW) Patrick Green
2 From ‘9/11’ on Pg. 1
Calif. attached to Combat Systems thought ‘Terrorists attack on American Department, CS8 Division was on soil in the heart of New York’.” board USS Essex (LHD 2) home ported Shock soon turned to patriotism as in Sasebo Japan, preparing for a routine many Sailors serving on board Carl underway. Vinson today enlisted in the U.S. Navy “We were going on a short cruise but after the events that unfolded on that all plans changed and we were standing historic day. by for what our president wanted us “As a paramedic at ‘Ground Zero’ I saw to do,” he said. “I remember feeling first-hand the devastation,” said Torrez. confused and angry.” “Now here I am in the Navy, proud to be Legalman 1st Class (SW/AW) a part of this ship. I am able to continue Christopher D. Salinas, a native of the fight that started after the attacks.” Houston attached to Legal Department The debris and rubble have been was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps cleared from ‘Ground Zero’ but the stationed at the memory has not Pentagon when faded from the he came face to minds of those face with an act of who served during terror that almost the initial response claimed his life. in support “The plane of Operation actually hit about Enduring Freedom 200 yards to the (OEF). right of my office,” “There wasn’t a he said. “It was lot of chaos. There startling but not was more of a scary at that time. sense of purpose,” It wasn’t until we said Castillo. “It walked outside to brought to life our the corridor when reason for being we saw a big ball of forward deployed fire and smoke and and gave a lot of we realized that we Sailors a reason to had to evacuate. I reenlist.” was in shock.” This September H o s p i t a l 11, the National |LN1 (SW/AW) Christopher Salinas| 9/11 Corpsman 1st Class memorial Melanie Torrez, will be unveiled a native of New York City attached to at “Ground Zero’ and although Sailors Vinson’s Medical Department was on a on board Carl Vinson will not be in Staten Island ferry ride when the World attendance to witness the ten year Trade Center Towers were attacked. milestone, they will continue to hold “There was a lot of uncertainty,” she their own memorial in respect of those said. “We were immediately stopped who were lost. in the middle of the water and sat off “The first time I was deployed on the Liberty Island for a while before we ground in Afghanistan for 9/11, my finally got off the ferry in New Jersey lieutenant ordered 100 American flags where I spent the night in a car. I just that we rendered honors to and folded couldn’t believe it. It took me awhile to in respect for those lost,” said Torrez. realize what was going on.” “That day was the most emotionally Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joseph exhausting and rewarding day I have Mundy, a native of Plainsboro, N.J. ever had.” attached to Supply Department’s SDC “[September 11] didn’t just change my Division was a sixth grader at the time life it changed a nation,” she added. of the attacks. When asked, how one should carry “Across the water you could see the on the legacy that started so long ago, tower burning and clouds of smoke,” Salinas answered by saying, “Pay your said Mundy. “You felt helpless, it was a respects, do your job and never forget. lot of death to deal with at one time and It hits me sometimes and I think to I just remember the anger in me when I myself ‘I’m a lucky person to be here.”
“Pay your respects, do your job and never forget. It hits me sometimes and I think to myself ‘I’m a lucky person to be here.”
HM1 Melanie Torrez
PRC (AW/SW) Jose Castillo
IC1 (SW/AW) Anthony Tatum
CS3 Joseph Mundy
LN1 (SW/AW) Christopher Salinas
September 9, 2011
A Day in the Life
S e p t e m b e r 1 1 T h r o u g h t h e E y e s o f a S h i p m at e EDITORIAL BY
ABECS (AW/SW) Patrick Bourgeois | USS Carl Vinson Staff Stringer
eptember 11, 2001 started out as a usual day at 4:30 a.m. with the insistent ringing of my alarm clock. I was a first class petty officer stationed at Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity, Naval Station San Diego, and if I didn’t plan my timing right, morning traffic was a pain and I was, and still am, not one to get up at the last minute to make the mad dash for the office parking lot to get to work on time. The coffee pot had just finished my customary morning brew when I turned on the TV to watch ‘CNN Headline News’. I am not a big sports buff so I have always preferred to see what was going on in the world and then switch to the local news for traffic information before hitting the road. However, this day quickly became one like no other. As I poured myself a cup of coffee, the news anchor fervently cut from the story he was delivering to a ‘Breaking News’ report from downtown Manhattan in New York City, reading “Plane crashes into one of the World Trade Center Towers”. Like most people I thought to myself, ‘Who was flying that plane?’ and I continued to watch live pictures and video of the shocking events unfolding in New York City. I could see clearly on my television screen, the entry point left in the side of the building and I stood in awe thinking how something like this could actually happen. Was this a freak accident? Then live on TV, when millions of Americans and countless people around the world were probably doing the same thing I was at that moment, the second plane collided and penetrated the walls of the second tower. “This was no accident. America we are under attack!” I immediately jumped into action. My customary morning routine quickly ended and I bolted out the door and down the freeway to get to base. While driving I was listening to the radio for any updates, when the on-air commentator announced that a third plane had hit the Pentagon. Before I could get 13 miles down the road, the fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, had gone down in Shanksville, PA. I kept thinking to myself that someone had
once again awakened a sleeping giant. I was within three miles of the main front gate to base, and Interstate 15 to 32nd Street had become a parking lot. Every vehicle was being extensively searched as it went through the gate, and that would become the daily norm for the next nine months and forever changed the way we operated. It became my new daily ritual to leave home at 3:00 a.m. to get to work on time. We were mustered and informed that the entire base was locked down, and over a period of four hours, almost every ship berthed on the waterfront was recalled and underway. We are trained to fight and always ready to answer the call, but no one expected the call to come from within our own soil. There wasn’t a dry eye in the shop as we watched both towers crumble. As the World Trade Center Towers fell, the emotions I felt were indescribable. My blood began to boil, and my anger rapidly turned into rage. We were instructed to search every building and vehicle on base spanning the expanse of the pier to the on-base movie theater on the waterfront (wet-side) and across 32nd Street (dry-side) for someone or anything suspicious, out of place or just simply didn’t look right. The world and America as we had known it was forever changed. I recall the look on former President George W. Bush’s face as he sat reading a book to a room full of elementary school students. I could imagine that was probably the same look on the faces of many Americans. Following the attacks, many Americans, including myself, were learning about the intentions and presence of al Qaeda and terrorism. More importantly the American people, stricken with grief yet driven by patriotism, needed answers to the most important question. Who was capable of and succeeded in attacking America, claiming so many innocent lives? I braced myself for the death toll as searchand-rescue at ‘Ground Zero’ became searchand-recovery and I held on to hope that there would still be survivors. Then news of five survivors rescued from the rubble, which was once the Twin Towers, brought a sense of
relief. But when the death toll began to climb to immense numbers, my hope for survivors slowly began to fade. Without a doubt and with the approval of a nation, America sprung into action. U.S. Marines, Soldiers and Airmen were mobilized; Navy Battle Groups deployed and Reserve Forces were activated to full time support. We were ready for the call. I was ready for the call. Anywhere you drove around San Diego, Old Glory was flying higher and higher each day from moving vehicles, to public and government buildings, churches and private homes. The American spirit was rising once again. Patriotism was at an all-time high. Alan Jackson released the chart topping single, ‘Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?’ and donated the proceeds to relief efforts in New York. Americans raised their sleeves to take care of our own at the Pentagon and at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93. Many more raised their sleeves to sift through the rubble in New York City. Though the Nation suffered a terrible strike, the events pulled us together even more. The journey I started after that fateful day brought me on a combat deployment on board USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in 2005 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), along with Capt. Bruce Lindsey who was the ship’s Executive Officer. I reported to Carl Vinson on December 13, 2009 and after four years of Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) and a home port change, Vinson was deployed to once again support OEF and played a vital role in the history that changed our lives forever. The events that unfolded on the morning of September 11, 2001 changed many lives, mine included, but only a select few Americans will remember years from now, putting on a uniform that speak wonders of the people wearing it. I will remember the faces of those who have served with me for the past ten years, fighting for the freedom that we all believe in. We, the Carl Vinson, proudly answered the call and this is the greatest memory of all. Though my morning routine now involves transiting the passageways of a warship, the incident that brought me face to face with terror is always just a thought away from the minds of the people that make this ship go.
AA Letter From Sea Letter From Sea LETTER BY
Unnamed Lieutenant| USS Carl Vinson Sailor
The following letter was published September 30, 2001 by the Kitsap Sun (A Bremerton, WA publication) from the family of a lieutenant aboard the Bremerton-based aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The sailor’s wife, Jacqui, offered the letter to the community so residents better understood what the men and women aboard U.S. naval vessels at sea were thinking. The letter was sent by e-mail Sept. 16 after communication restrictions were lifted following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. It was addressed to his wife, Jacqui; his mother, Marilyn; and his brother, Kirk, an F-16 fighter airplane mechanic. The family’s request is to withhold the lieutenant’s full name.
To my family,
Thank you all for your support and love during this epic episode of our lives and that of our country. As I’ve told Jacqui, this is a place-marking, life event. When we are all old and gray and look back on our lives, this will truly be one of the “I remember when” events that mark our generation in time. Our president has said, “We are at war.” I honestly never believed that I would hear those words. I’ve also heard this event called the “Pearl Harbor of our time.” Tragically, the death toll from the cowardly attacks on civilians of many nations, not just America, is scales of magnitude more sickening. I pray that Americans, and all civilized societies of the world, will stand united and determined not to let our world fall prey to fears planted by radical, faceless anarchists blinded by hate. I pray that our resolve to hunt down the terrorists responsible and future generations of their kind remains steadfast and true to its ideal. This will be a difficult and costly thing to do. It will cost more lives, but it is the right thing, and ultimately, the only thing to do. That said, I would not choose to be anywhere else right now. I have no delusions of being a hero, but I want to be part of the solution - a global solution. I find comfort in the belief that what America is preparing to do will change the world again as radically as it was changed during that dreadful hour last week. As third world nations scramble to explain how they don’t really support known terrorists, they make provisions for repercussions they deeply fear. While they teeter on diplomatic fences, they know they can neither turn a blind eye nor deny us. Americans will lead the world again in the “New War.” To quote Adm. Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear that we have awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.” I am proud to claim an active and willing portion of that resolve. Kirk, if and when you are called to duty, hold your head high and take your place enthusiastically among those counted in the American response. Know that I care deeply for you and respect and honor your contribution. I worry more for those bound to the land than those of us safely out to sea. I see your face in every F-16 streaking across the evening news. You preserve the sovereignty of our domestic airspace, and very possibly, will take the war to the enemy by giving our pilots the best aircraft in the world. Know that I am here and that I understand much of what you will face. Do not cry for any of us out here and do not wish us home. We want to be here and we are ready to do our country’s bidding. Wish us well. Pray for our leaders. Pray for the thousands of men and women who did not choose this war, but are left to grieve for dead husbands, wives, children and friends. Remember the honor of those brave souls who, in the face of a certain death, overcame their hijackers and prevented the final attack by forcing their plane down in an empty field. I don’t know their names, but I know they are the truest of heroes welcomed by God with open arms. Steel yourselves with his strength and maintain the home and family that I cannot tend right now. Give Jacqui and my children all the love and support they deserve. Know that I am strong, I am well. What I am doing, I truly believe in.
I love you all.
Your son, brother, and husband,
September 9, 2011
U.S. Defense Chief Honors 9/11 Victims At New Memorial
.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta flew to New York Tuesday to honor September 11th victims at a stunning new memorial built at Ground Zero, accompanied by troops who enlisted following the attacks. As part of a week of events commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Panetta traveled to New York City in a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey with the young troops to pay his respects at the site of the World Trade Center. Rainy weather, however, forced him to cancel plans to head to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the four hijacked planes on September 11, 2001 crashed into a field, after passengers overpowered the hijackers. Panetta brought along a member of each branch of the armed forces -- the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard -- who signed up to serve in uniform in the aftermath of the attacks, officials said. With his one-day trip, Panetta wanted to remember those who died in the attacks and to recognize the importance of public service, particularly for those in the “9/11 generation” who joined the military, a spokesman said. “This generation of men and women in uniform, like previous generations, have stepped forward when they needed to step forward. And the country is a better as a result,” spokesman Douglas Wilson told reporters. Four of the five troops traveling with Panetta deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 9/11, including Air Force Staff Sergeant Robert Gutierrez, 31, who directed air strikes for Army special forces in Afghanistan. The forward air controller was wounded on one of his tours and has been awarded the prestigious Bronze Star for valor, according to the Pentagon.
Dan De Luce | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Gutierrez enlisted in January 2002, though he wanted to sign up in the days after the attacks. “I tried to enlist the next day but they told me there was a waiting list,” he said. Officials said Panetta is the first cabinet member to get a first-hand look at the national 9/11 memorial in New York, which is due to be officially unveiled on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Amid a steady rain, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave Panetta a tour of the memorial site, walking past rows of white oak trees to two giant, sunken fountains dug into the footprints of the old Twin Towers. The granite fountains appear like somber waterfalls, with rushing water flowing into a central square below, evoking the terrible loss of life suffered on September 11. The names of the victims are carved into a dark parapet on the edges of the fountains, with new skyscrapers now rising nearby. A few steps from one of the fountains, Panetta stood before a callery pear tree that has become a symbol of resilience. The tree was found charred in the rubble after the attacks, but was brought back to health at a nursery in the Bronx and replanted at Ground Zero. Later this week, the defense chief will attend events in remembrance of those killed at the Pentagon on 9/11, when a hijacked plane struck the enormous Defense Department headquarters shortly after two other hijacked airliners slammed into the Twin Towers in Manhattan. The September 11 attacks killed 2,977 people. The vast majority of those killed, 2,753, were in New York, while 184 people died at the Pentagon and another 40 at Shanksville. Those figures exclude the 19 hijackers.
D E C K P
| Where were you & what do you r
“I was in ‘A’-school in Pensacola. They changed the force protection condition on the base, and all civilians had to be escorted. I thought we were about to go to war.”
“I was in Florida visiting family. I didn’t understand what was happening and my uncle had to explain it to me. I think 9/11 was a big eye-opener. It showed me the world I was coming into.”
A E 2 ( A W ) J e f f r e y A r m s t r o n g
M M F N J e f f r e y E l l i o t t
“I was in Pearl Harbor, ironically the site of the last attack on American soil. I had to show my ID four different times just to get to my shop. I was shocked and scared and didn’t know what to expect.”
“I was stationed at NAS North Island. My mom had lived in NYC during WWII when a bomber had flown into the Empire State Building. I remember thinking how ironic it was. All those people were guilty of was simply going to work.”
A T C B a r o n
( A W ) B r o w n
“I was in the Dental Clinic at Great Lakes. Recruits were screaming and saying ‘We’re going to war today’. I wondered how it could have happened. Was it pilot error? That was before I knew what really happened.” T o d d
C m d r . C a r p e n t e r
A Z C ( A W / S W ) T h o m a s L e i t e r
“I was on a Tiger Cruise on the USS Constellation (CV 64). We were on our way back from a 6-month deployment and we had about 12,000 Tigers onboard. We couldn’t tell anyone when we were coming home because of the increased threat levels.” L t . C m d r . B r y a n L u k i e
“I’m from New York, and 9/11 is one of the reasons I joined the Navy. I was working in mall security back then. I remember it was the worst feeling, seeing people jump and the towers fall. I wondered why someone would do that.”
“I was on leave and got a bunch of phone calls from friends and family, asking if I was going to be shipping out. At the time I was still new to the Navy and didn’t know what to expect. It was a little overwhelming.”
C S 2 J o s e D i a z
D C 1 ( S W ) L a w r e n c e M a d r i d
September 9, 2011
P L A T E
remember about September 11, 2001? | “I was asleep in Japan and my wife called me from New Jersey and told me to turn the TV on. My base was completely shut down. Nobody could go to work except for missionessential personnel. I kept thinking, ‘what next?’ It was always in the back of my mind.” A M C D o n a l d
( A W ) R e d m a n
“I was on the USS Lasalle (AGF 3) removing a patient’s toenail when the guys in the records room told me to look at the TV. They were saying we needed to get ready to deploy. The crew was recalled, and we pulled out within 48 hours.” H M 1 M i k e
( S W / F M F ) R i c h a r d s
“I was in the 10th grade in North Carolina. I talked to my uncle, who worked five minutes from the Pentagon, and he said he felt the ground shake, but that was all. As soon as I heard my family was OK, I felt better.” A Z A N C h r i s S e a m o n
“I was in my high school Biology class and thought it was a movie. When I realized it wasn’t, I was in total shock. The room was completely quiet and we just watched the news the rest of the day.” H M 3 V i c t o r i a S y l a s
“I was in Boston. I had just dropped off my mom at the airport and she called me five minutes later to pick her up because her flight was cancelled. I was thankful my mom wasn’t on any of those flights.”
“I was in school in New York. We watched the news and I thought, ‘No one would hit the Twin Towers, it can’t be real’. There were cops and firemen everywhere. It was complete pandemonium. I never thought something like that could happen in New York City.”
A B H 2 ( A W / S W ) M a x S a n t e l o i
A B H A N ( A W / S W ) D e s h a w n W i l l i a m s
“I was extra late for work because traffic was backed up. It took me 30-40 minutes when it usually took only five. When I came in and saw the news, I felt selfish for worrying about being late to work.” A Z C ( S e l ) ( A W / S W ) R o s a l i n d S a m u e l s
“I was at Fleet Training Center San Diego, standing quarterdeck watch. I was shocked and astonished. My heart sank. So many lives were lost, and for what? They crippled us a little, but America always comes back in full force.” D C 1 ( S W / A W ) E d w i n G a r t i n
Did You Know Did You Know... USS New York (LPD 21) is made from steel left behind by the Twin Towers. Vinson was the first carrier on station in the North Arabian Sea after the 9/11 Attacks.
CAPTAIN BRUCE H. LINDSEY COMMANDING OFFICER
|EXECUTIVE EDITORS| LT. CMDR ERIK REYNOLDS PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
LT. ERIK SCHNEIDER
ASSISTANT PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
|EDITOR IN CHIEF|
MCCM (SW/AW) WILLIAM HOULIHAN MEDIA LCPO
In 2001, USS Carl Vinson had a starring role in the movie ‘Behind Enemy Lines’.
MC2 (SW/AW) LORI D. BENT
MC2 (SW) PATRICK GREEN
19,355 Officers and 197,805 enlisted Sailors joined the Navy after 9/11. 217,140 are still serving today. As of Sept. 7, 2011, 37 attack submarines and 146 ships are deployed or underway from homeport.
MC3 (SW) MEGAN L. CATELLIER
|STAFF WRITERS/PHOTOGRAPHERS| MC3 (SW/AW) TIMOTHY HAZEL MC3 JESSICA TOUNZEN