USS Carl Vinson to serve as ‘floating airport’ for Haiti operation

A US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier speeding towards Haiti serves as a landing pad for a fleet of helicopters rushing in emergency teams and vital supplies to quake victims.

Military officials said the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class super carrier, is designed for war and projecting American power but is well-suited for the humanitarian mission in Haiti after Tuesday’s massive earthquake.

The carrier is outfitted with water-purifying equipment, dozens of hospital beds, three operating rooms and a giant flight deck that can accommodate numerous helicopters, military officers said.

“They are going to serve as a floating airport for a lot of different helicopters,” Navy Lieutenant Nate Christensen told AFP.

Instead of its usual complement of fighter jets, the ship is carrying 19 helicopters, ranging from larger “heavy lift” CH-53 Sea Stallions to smaller Seahawk choppers, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

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