[beer](article edited here for length)
Carrier Receives Delivery Of Beer on the Open Sea
The Vinson Also Restocked With Ammunition, Food
By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 2001; Page A17
ABOARD THE USS CARL VINSON IN THE NORTHERN ARABIAN SEA, Oct. 12 -- All day and into the night, the supplies flowed on board this aircraft carrier: 350 pallets of ammunition, aircraft repair parts, crates of kiwis and 400 cases of beer.
The Vinson, its powerful catapults idle today after five days of launching attacks on Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan, was reloading for more action.
The beans, bullets and beers were delivered during an intricate replenishment at sea timed to coincide with a suspension of attacks from the carrier.
Sailors watched with particular interest as pallets of Budweiser, Coors Light and Heineken were taken from the hangar bay and placed in a cool, secure weapons-storage area. U.S. Navy ships are traditionally dry, but those at sea for 45 days without a port call are allowed to issue each sailor two beers. The pending milestone next week is marked on calendars throughout the Vinson.
"Beer Day is my 21st birthday, so I'm looking forward to it," said a deckhand named Christina, who was standing watch on the signal bridge during the resupply operation. "I think I should get extras."
For many sailors, the prospect of a couple of cold beers in the midst of what is likely to be a long-term operation was a relief.
The $4.5 billion carrier, built in Newport News, Va., and commissioned in 1982, was the first warship in the nation's history to be named after a living person. Carl Vinson, of Georgia, a longtime Navy benefactor during his 50 years in the House of Representatives, is considered one of the fathers of the two-ocean navy.
Vinson was also a staunch opponent of women in the military, an irony not lost on Vinson's female crew members, who make up about 12 percent of the total. They include pilots who have flown combat missions over Afghanistan. "We know our enemy," said one female sailor.
Owing to personnel shortages, the Vinson has fewer than 5,000 crew members, well below its authorized strength of 5,500.
In an indication of what may lie ahead for the Vinson, crew members shipped training ammunition off the carrier today to make more room for more live munitions, including a number of 2,000-pound bombs.
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
Those swab-jockeys get ALL the perks!