USS Carl Vinson Changes Command at Sea

Capt. Kent D. Whalen, right, relieves Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey as the commanding officer of the USS Carl Vinson during a ceremony in the ship's hangar bay. The Vinson is underway on a western Pacific deployment. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans)


The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson held a change of command ceremony Friday, while the ship was underway.

Capt. Kent D. Whalen relieved Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey as commanding officer.

The ceremony’s guest speaker was Vinson’s second commanding officer, retired Rear Adm. Thomas Mercer.

He praised Lindsey’s leadership, highlighting the ship’s humanitarian and disaster relief efforts during Operation Unified Response with Task Force-Haiti, and the subsequent deployment to U.S. 7th Fleet and U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibilities in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. 

Before being officially relieved, Lindsey credited Vinson’s “Gold Eagle Team” as well as Carrier Air Wing 17’s “Team Quicksand” for making the carrier’s success possible as he transitions to Commander Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. 

“The Gold Eagle and Quicksand team is simply stellar,” Lindsey said. “It’s about the people – the chiefs, the officers and the Sailor. Don’t ever forget you are special, and that is why this ship is special.”

After official orders were read, Whalen assumed all duties and responsibilities as commanding officer and addressed the crew for the first time.

“It is an honor and privilege to be your commanding officer, and I’m looking forward to witnessing all the great achievements this ship and Carrier Strike Group team will accomplish in the future,” Whalen said. “Nothing has changed in the way we do our business onboard Carl Vinson; the safety of this crew should remain paramount.”

Prior to assuming command, Whalen served on the staff of the Commander, Naval Air Forces, San Diego, as the assistant chief of staff for force readiness.


From a Navy news release.