USS Carl Vinson, Embarked Carrier Air Wing 17 Sailors Depart on Western Pacific Deployment

USS Carl Vinson, Embarked Carrier Air Wing 17 Sailors Depart on Western Pacific Deployment

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 Sailors said goodbye to friends, family, and loved ones when the ship departed Naval Air Station North Island Nov. 30 for a scheduled deployment.

The scene was familiar to many Sailors, as loved ones braved the early hour and the cold to see them off as they did one year ago. Wives, husbands, parents, daughters, sons, and old friends were on the pier to say farewell.

Jessica Madrid, a Navy wife of almost three years, watched her husband, Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Mark Madrid, assigned to Weapons Department G-4 Division, walk up the ship’s brow to his home for the next six months.

He had to be here by 6 a.m., so I just got to walk him to the gate and give him a hug and a kiss bye,” said Jessica.
She is confident they are prepared for this second deployment.

“We’ve done it. We got through the first one and they say the first one’s always the hardest,” Jessica said. “We’re just going to try and save money and keep in contact as much as possible.”

Some Vinson Sailors look forward to the opportunities a deployment provides.

“I think it’s going to be easier than the last two deployments I’ve been on,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Kristopher Bradley, assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15 who is looking forward to advancing to the rank of second class petty officer, saving money and achieving his enlisted aviation warfare specialist qualification.

“I’m optimistic,” he said. “My eyes are open.”

Sailors and family experiencing deployment for the first time were less assured.

“I’m nervous for him,” said Margarita Vega about her son Airman Giancarlo Vega, assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125.

Alexis Helton, wife of Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class John Helton, assigned to Air Department V-1 Division, stood with their newborn son Nathan on the cusp of their second deployment together.

“It’s a little different with a newborn,” she said. “It’s intimidating because there’s a lot more for me to do on my end. I’m just proud of the Sailors and proud to be a Navy wife.”

Naval Today Staff, December 02, 2011; Image: navy