GREENE — The Sawyer Memorial returns with its 2019 opening show. Twenty-five-year Navy veteran Alan Elze presents “Six Months Aboard an Aircraft Carrier” at 2 and 7 p.m. Friday, April 26.

Imagine living in a town of about 6,000 people … that is 24 stories high and five acres wide. Get the idea? Now add 80 airplanes and eight nuclear reactors to the equation.

Elze will present a program on spending six months on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). He completed two cruises aboard the Vinson while attached to one of the attack squadrons linked to the ship.

020123-N-6436W-001 Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA (Jan. 23. 2002) — USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) returns home after completing a six month deployment. As the first carrier on station in the North Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, she was the first to launch air strikes on Afghanistan. Sailors spent a busy, 111 consecutive days at sea in support of this mission. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Watkins)


The Vinson is one of 10 Nimitz class super carriers. Most are named for Presidents, but a few are named for Congressmen who supported the Navy. The class itself is named for the World War II Admiral of the Pacific Theater. There is now an 11th, the Gerald Ford (CVN-78), which is the beginning of the newest class, the Ford. The Gerald Ford has much newer technology onboard while needing less sailors. She should join the fleet in 2020.

The super carriers are over 1,000 feet long and weigh in at 100,000 tons. This is not including the 6,000 personnel, 80 airplanes and helicopters as well as associated equipment. A super carrier is a gigantic apartment house, home to several squadrons that deploy with her. The complement of the ship is 3,000 and the squadron personnel number another 3,000.

A carrier does not steam by herself. She is part of a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) overseen by an admiral, who has overall authority. The carrier itself is split between the ship’s crew, commanded by a captain, and the air wing, which is also commanded by a captain. The carrier is usually accompanied by a frigate, one or two destroyers, a supply ship and a submarine.

Shows will be held at 2 and 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the Araxine Wilkins Sawyer Memorial, 371 Sawyer Road. Admission is free.

For more information, call 207-946-5311, visit or

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