North Korea

'Powerful' USS Carl Vinson steams toward North Korea

The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) on deployment to the Western Pacific.

The USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) and the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) on deployment to the Western Pacific.  (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Brown)

At a time when experts warn that North Korea’s nuclear test site is “primed and ready,” President Donald Trump on Wednesday told the Fox Business Network, “We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier.”

The president said about Kim Jong-un’s threats against U.S. warships, “We have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this: He is doing the wrong thing.”

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This Saturday marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, “eternal president” of North Korea, and grandfather of Kim Jong-un. Historically, Pyongyang has launched missile tests around important dates on the North Korean calendar.

The “armada,” officially called the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 1, is currently making its way toward North Korea. The strike group is led by the flagship U.S.S. Carl Vinson, which was commissioned in 1982, and since has had a long and rich history. Often called “America's Favorite Aircraft Carrier”, the San Diego-based ship was named for Rep. Carl Vinson, a Democrat from Georgia.

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Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883, and served more than 50 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was known for his motto, “The most expensive thing in the world is a cheap Army and Navy,” insisting on U.S. military strength and preparedness.

Branded as the “Father of the Two-Ocean Navy”, Rep. Vinson sponsored the bill that increased the size of the U.S. Navy by 70 percent, allocating $4 billion for the expansion of the Navy. The bill, signed by President Roosevelt in 1940 and known as the Vinson-Walsh Act, the Two-Ocean Navy Act, and the Seventy Percent Act, was one of the largest procurement bills in the history of the Navy. His efforts earned him the nickname, “the Admiral.” He retired on Christmas Day, 1964, boarding a train for Georgia. At the time, he was the longest serving member in the history of the House of Representatives.

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson awarded Vinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, calling him a “master legislative captain, helmsman, and navigator, his fixed star has always been the national interest.”

Vinson was the first living person in the history of the Navy to witness the launch of a ship named in his honor.

Perhaps best known for the burial-at-sea of Usama bin Laden in 2011, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Haiti, arriving just 72 hours after the earthquake struck. The aircraft carrier also has been deployed in Operation Desert Strike, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Southern Watch, and Operation Enduring Freedom. 

The vessel earned the unique honor of hosting the first NCAA basketball game played on an aircraft carrier in 2011.

The U.S.S. Carl Vinson joined the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, deployed for nearly 10 months in the Western Pacific. Returning home in June of 2015, the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group with embarked Carrier Air Wing “successfully flew 12,300 sorties, including 2,382 combat missions, and dropped more than a half a million pounds of ordnance in the fight against ISIS,” according to Navy officials.

The impressive American aircraft carrier diverted to the waters around North Korea certainly sends a message. The president tweeted Thursday that he has confidence in neighboring China’s ability to “deal” with the isolated nation, promising that if they can’t, the U.S. stands ready to do so.