USS Carl Vinson, at Sea - An all-star line-up of American military, sports and entertainment 'heavy-hitters,' escorted by the United Services Organization (USO), visited on board the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) to say "Thanks" and entertain the crew.
The group included the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James Winnefeld, his wife Mary Winnefeld, Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts Tight End Dwayne Allen, Pittsburg Steelers Guard David DeCastro, season 11 American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, actor Dennis Haysbert, musician Nathan Mercereau, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev, singer/songwriters Ace Young, and Diana DeGarmo of American Idol fame, and TV host and actor Jason "Wee Man" Acuna expressed their gratitude for the crew's sacrifices and devotion to the nation and put on a show.
The group toured the ship, viewed flight operations, conducted a meet-and-greet with the crew and signed autographs.
They also performed a USO review including songs performed by Phillips, Young, DeGarmo and Kazantsev. The crew cheered loudest when "Wee Man" was on stage introducing guests and when coach Pagano, quarterback Andrew Luck, tight end Dwayne Allen, and guard David DeCastro greeted the crew and Luck tossed footballs to some lucky Sailors.
Luck expressed his appreciation for the job the crew is doing while deployed and shared his own family tie to the military.
"I have a lot of respect for the jobs and sacrifices of each and every service member," said Luck. "I have a lot of admiration for these massive aircraft carriers. The team work, the unity, everybody working together is fascinating to me. My grandfather was in the Marine Corps, so I appreciate what you do in supporting this great nation."
Luck added that he was extremely impressed by the morale of a crew deployed for such a lengthy deployment.
"I can not express enough, just how appreciative I am, for what you do. Not just me, but everybody back home. Keep grinding, keep pushing and keep working your butts off. I'm sure the day you all return home will be glorious," stated Luck.
Carl Vinson is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations along with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.