The Carl Vinson strike group team departed San Diego on Aug. 22 for what was announced as a 9 1/2-month deployment. At YAP, we needed to know who would relieve the Bush who has been in combat for the last few weeks and was overdue for replacement. The Bataan was relieved by the Makin Island. For us, it was between the USS George Washington but always more likely, the Vinson.

The Vinson is accompanied by CG52 Bunker Hill, DDG’s Gridley, Sterett and Dewey and Carrier Air Wing 17. CAW17 is comprised of VFA 113, VFA94 flying FA18C’s, VFA22 flying F’s and VFA81 flying E’s. Also aboard is VAQ139 flying EA18G’s. Two helicopter squadrons (HSM73 and HSC15) are also now out on the sharp end.