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Beth Ann Charlton

WESTPAC 2001-2002 Photo


1998 - 1999


WESTPAC 2001-2002 began on July 23 when the USS Carl Vinson left Bremerton, Washington on her way to San Diego, California to “pickup” their flight wing and from there begin the 6 month cruise.  Most of the cruise was suppose to put them in the Persian Gulf.


They arrived in the Gulf to relieve the USS Enterprise group so they could come home.  Then it happened ~ the hideous attacks to the World Trade Center Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC on September 11.  The Vinson group was moved from the Gulf to the Arabian Sea and was the first carrier group in the area to respond in what is known as Operation Enduring Freedom.


It was a long 6 months but they came home on schedule.  When they pulled into Pearl Harbor they had a Homecoming celebration waiting for them on the pier.  The next day they were on their way to San Diego to “unload” their flight wing.  When they arrived in San Diego they were greeted with another bigger Homecoming celebration.  The next day they pulled away from the pier to start the last leg of their cruise ~ heading home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  When they arrived it was cold and sleet was falling.  But the sailors that were manning-the-rail didn’t mind they were just so happy to be back in home port.  They were greeted by a huge Homecoming celebration all the way through Puget Sound on the way to the pier at Bremerton.


We (Beth’s parents) were not able to be in Bremerton this time when the ship came home from WESTPAC but our hearts were there.  Beth called me before they arrived at Pearl Harbor and San Diego.  But the call I was waiting for came on January 23 that said, “Mom, I am home ~ we are in Puget Sound!”  That was the happiest day in my life to have her back home.  We talked for just a couple minutes and decided that she would call as soon as she could after the ship docked.


We are so very proud of our daughter and all the other sons and daughters who are in the military for what they have already done and are still doing to protect our freedom for all of us here at home.

The only word that describes this site on May 6, 1999 is AWESOME.  You can see the Seattle sky-line in the background.  You can see the proud sailors man-the-rail as the ship glides through Puget Sound.

Dad took this photo as he was on the Tiger Cruise aboard ship from San Diego to home with Beth.  When I saw the ship from the pier with the sailors manning-the-rail I had tears running down my cheeks.  I can’t describe it any other way then it was just

so very awesome!

Beth (center) manning-the-rail on the USS Carl Vinson on May 6, 1999 arriving at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (home) from WESTPAC (6 mo. cruise) in the Persian Gulf.  Dad took the photo as he was on the Tiger Cruise aboard ship from San Diego to home with Beth. Mom was waiting on the pier with all the other wives, husbands, kids, Moms and Dads

to hug their sailor.