We don’t know exactly where the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters took off for their mission inside Pakistan. But they got in and they got out with Bin Laden’s body. The American Forces Press Service reported that Bin Laden received a Muslim ceremony as he was buried at sea, citing a senior defense official in Washington, D.C., May 2.
The religious rites were performed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the North Arabian Sea and occurred within 24 hours of the terrorist leader’s death, said the official.
“Preparations for at-sea [burial] began at 1:10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and were completed at 2 a.m.,” said the official.
The Carrier Strike Group which includes the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) , and its escorts guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), Destroyer Squadron 1 guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 104) and guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), has just concluded 95 days supporting maritime theater security operations for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn, including 52 consecutive days at sea.
The Carrier Strike Group is now in Manila for a four-day port call and goodwill visit. Sailors from the Vinson and their counterparts from the Philippine Navy are also participating in community relations activities in Metro Manila during the visit.
Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, some members of his cabinet and U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr., were given a special tour of the USS Carl Vinson while she was out at sea on May 14. You’d think that there’ll be more photos; unfortunately, the US Embassy in Manila has only managed to snag five photos of the entire event (does not even include the US ambassador), so below is a five-photo 1 second slideshow of the ship visit.
“We are so honored that President Aquino was able to visit the carrier today,” said Ambassador Thomas. “The crew was just thrilled to be able to meet him and the other distinguished visitors who joined us,” he added.
In addition to touring the aircraft carrier, the officials met with the sailors aboard the ship.Apparently about 15 percent of its 6,000 crew are Filipino-Americans.
The Philippine Inquirer reported that Capt. Bruce Lindsey, the skipper of the visiting US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, evaded all Osama bin Laden-related questions raised by Filipino journalists who joined Sunday’s tour of the nuclear-powered warship upon the invitation of the US Embassy in Manila.
When interviewed, some Filipino-American crew members of the aircraft carrier also declined comment on the issue. “It’s not permitted … We’re not supposed to discuss it even with our family members,” said one of them.