Carrollton native serves aboard USS Carl Vinson

Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

By Senior Chief Petty Officer James Thorson

Seaman Wesley Morales Colon, a native of Carrollton, serves the Navy aboard one of the world’s largest warships, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

Morales Colon joined the Navy a year ago and today serves as a retail services specialist.

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“I have always been inspired to serve others and be a provider for my family and their needs,” he said. “That’s why I joined the Navy.”

Growing up in Carrollton, Morales Colon attended Smithfield High School and graduated in 2014. Today, he relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Isle of Wight to succeed in the military.

“I have applied the dedication and discipline I learned from my hometown to my job in retail service in order to succeed,” said Morales Colon.

These lessons have helped Morales Colon while serving in the Navy.

Aircraft carriers provide unique capabilities and survivability. They are a powerful exhibition of the American Navy’s legacy of innovation, technological evolution, and maritime dominance, according to Navy officials.

USS Carl Vinson, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea. With more than 5,000 sailors serving aboard, Carl Vinson is a self-contained mobile airport.

Aircraft carriers are often the first response to a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans. Carrier strike groups have the unique advantage of mobility, making them far more strategically advantageous than fixed-site bases. No other weapon system can deploy and operate forward with a full-sized, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s speed, endurance, agility, and the combat capability of its air wing.

The Carl Vinson and its crew recently returned to San Diego following an eight-month deployment to U.S. 3rd and 7th Fleets areas of operation.

“At the heart of every ship, whether ashore or at sea, are the Sailors that make up the crew and carry out the Navy’s missions with precision and dedication,” said Capt. P. Scott Miller, commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. “The Vinson Sailors recently demonstrated this in our execution of a highly successful 7th Fleet deployment and continue this legacy of excellence at home in San Diego.”

During the USS Carl Vinson’s most recent deployment the ship was underway for 262 days, conducting dual carrier operations and multinational exercises, including maritime security operations and integrated training between surface and air units.

USS Carl Vinson was the first aircraft carrier to deploy with a combination of fourth and fifth-generation platforms within Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 that represent the “Air Wing of the Future,” including the F-35C Lightning IIs and the CMV-22B Ospreys.

Since USS Langley’s commissioning 100 years ago, the nation’s aircraft carriers, such as USS Carl Vinson, and embarked carrier air wings have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.

“The aircraft carrier is our U.S. Navy’s centerpiece, our flagship, and a constant reminder to the rest of the world of our enduring maritime presence and influence,” said Rear Arm. James P. Downey, USN, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Aircraft Carriers. “These ships touch every part of our Navy’s mission to project power, ensure sea control, and deter our adversaries.”

Serving in the Navy means Morales Colon is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy protects our waters and oceans from acts of violence, and provides aid to any country in need,” said Morales Colon.

With more than 90% of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Morales Colon and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I am proud of the hard work ethic that I’ve developed to accomplish the Navy mission,” said Morales Colon. “To me, serving in the Navy means that I am protecting freedom for our country and allies.”