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USS Carl Vinson returns to San Diego after mishap

VINSON returns.jpg
Mike Damron
Sailors on board the USS Carl Vinson wave to family on their return to San Diego

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson returned to San Diego Monday morning.

The Vinson and its strike group were deployed for eight months.

While the carrier was deployed in the western Pacific, pictures and video footage leaked which showed a January 24 accident where one of the Navy’s new F-35C fighter jets.

The $100 million aircraft slammed into the deck of the Vinson and skidded into the Pacific in the South China Sea.

Seven were injured but no one was killed. The accident remains under investigation, says Rear Adml. Daniel Martin, commander of Carrier Strike Group One.

“We had some injured people on the flight deck and we were able to care for them immediately,” Martin said. “And were able to re-certify the flight deck within three hour and recover the aircraft that were airborne that we sent over to the USS Abraham Lincoln.”

RELATED: Carl Vinson carrier strike group returns to San Diego after 8-month deployment

The carrier resumed normal operations the following morning. Without naming a sailor, Martin said someone was disciplined for leaking the crash footage, which was published in numerous places.

The Vinson carrier strike group was among the last to deploy with unvaccinated sailors. Roughly a dozen sailors were unvaccinated when the carrier left San Diego.

The Navy has since declared no one will deploy without being vaccinated. The Vinson also left port with roughly 30 cases of COVID-19 on board. The carrier group also picked up additional COVID-19 cases during port visits to Japan and Guam, Martin said.

“Once you get those numbers through protocol measures and quarantine,” Martin said. “You get it down to zero and then there is no impact.”

None of that mattered to the Golahars, who were finally able to unite after months apart. Anna Golihar married Intelligence Technician Cody Golihar two years ago, but they haven’t been together for much of that time.

“For us it was just constantly talking,” she said. “Expressing everything and just being very vocal. Letting each other know how we feel. How we’re doing. Even if we have to reiterate it 10 times.”

Before the carrier made port this morning, the Blue Angels held a fly over to welcome the crew to San Diego.

USS Carl Vinson returns to San Diego after mishap