Navy carrier goes to San Diego
By Dionesis Tamondong
Pacific Sunday News
and The Associated Press
April 1, 2007
The Navy yesterday announced its decision to base the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, choosing the city over three other locations, including Guam.
Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter selected San Diego after evaluating a number of factors, including existing infrastructure, family support facilities and proximity to training areas.
Guam, Hawaii and Washington state were the other areas that military officials were considering to be the new home port for the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Delegate Madeleine Bordallo yesterday spoke with Winter prior to the announcement.
"I know that the Navy looked closely at each of the homeport locations, including Guam, and that they weighed the benefits and costs of each option," Bordallo stated in a news release. "I strongly support the decision to move an additional carrier to the Pacific, and we know that its presence in the region will benefit Guam."
Adm. Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the decision reaffirms the Navy's commitment in the region and responds to the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, which called for six of the Navy's 11 carrier strike groups to be in the Pacific.
The Navy currently has five aircraft carriers in the Pacific, including the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan based in San Diego. Two others are in Bremerton, Wash. and one at a U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan.
The transfer of a sixth aircraft carrier to the Pacific will bolster the Navy's capabilities and posture in the Pacific, and bode well for the security of Guam and the region, Bordallo said.
She added that the increased carrier presence in the Pacific also will bring economic benefits for Guam through port visits and training exercises in the region.
The aircraft carrier, with its crew of more than 5,000 sailors and Marines, will be ready to move to its new homeport in early 2010.
The island's business community and the island's leadership had pushed for Guam's selection as a carrier homeport so the island can benefit from new jobs and additional tax revenue.
"I have no doubt that the strategic location of our island is important for our country. The decision to relocate Marines from Okinawa to Guam is evidence of this fact and brings with it its own set of opportunities for our community," Bordallo said.