June 4, 2011

AIRCRAFT CARRIER!

Carrier Strike Group 1, centered around the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) visited Manila Bay last May 15-18 2011, a week after it helped eliminate Osama bin Laden.

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The group made anchor around 4-5km from my place. My view of it was obscured most of the time by fog, smog and rain; it did however become clear enough a few times for me and my friend to geek out. We tried to identify (in vain) which escort ship is which. We were able to see two of them, and the CVN 70’s official Facebook page says they’re supposed to be the “Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS Shiloh (CG 67)”

We also tried identifying all the aircraft that were spotted(parked) on the flight deck. I think most of the carrier’s air wing was spotted up there. They were probably doing maintenance on the hangar deck itself so they moved most or all the aircraft up. Or they could just be showing off all those shiny planes. Whatever it is, we did not have powerful enough optics to clearly see everything, but we’re pretty sure there was a lot of F/A-18’s and a couple of E2C Hawkeyes (pretty damn hard to miss them Radomes)

As to why the strike group was here, I had these theories

a) Because they can

b) To kill terrorists

c) To recruit me

d) To get some exotic chicks

e) Eat isaw and balut

f) Routine port call and goodwill visit that highlights the strong historic, community and military connections between the US and the Philippines

g) All of the Above

Consensus among my friends is that it’s probably a-e.

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Forgive the geekery -it’s rare to have such an awesome collection of hardware so near

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If I had`the time and money, I’d probably would have went to Cavite and made camp there so I could have a shot of the strike group with the Bataan Memorial Cross on Mt. Samat as the background.