PENINSULA: REGION PREPARES TO WELCOME – USS VINSON’S RETURN

Tears, flags, and red, white and blue will greet 3,000 crew — plus guests — aboard the USS Carl Vinson as they return to Bremerton today from the war on terrorism.

Several thousand people are expected to meet the giant aircraft carrier as it docks this afternoon — including a handful of Peninsula families whose loved ones have been on the Vinson since last summer.

Lori Davis of Port Angeles saw her husband, Chief Petty Officer Kent Davis, just last week when she flew to Hawaii to greet the supercarrier as it arrived in Pearl Harbor.

But 8-year-old Jaclyn, 6-year-old Jordan and Jenna, 2½, haven’t seen their father since Jenna’s birthday July 23.

“They are just dying to see their dad,” Davis said Tuesday, displaying her daughters’ painted red, white and blue fingernails.

The family will greet Davis at the dock with flags, huge balloons and even a red, white and blue umbrella.

The Vinson was on a routine mission to the Arabian Sea when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked Sept. 11. On Oct. 7, the first airstrikes in Afghanistan were launched from the 1,092-foot-long carrier.

Over the next 70 days, the Vinson’s aviators flew about 4,200 sorties and dropped more than 2 million tons of bombs.

The rest of this story appears in today’s Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition. Get the PDN delivered to your home or office by simply clicking “Subscribe.”

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