Two SHS grads meet on USS Carl Vinson |

Two SHS grads meet on USS Carl Vinson

ABOARD THE USS CARL VINSON – A Marine and a Navy sailor, both from Dillon and graduates from Summit High School, learned recently they are both serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific Ocean.

Marine Mark Strickland and sailor Tyler Avery discovered each other when shipmates were discussing their hometowns, according to mother Kathi Avery.

The Carl Vinson is based at Bremerton, Wash., and is currently patrolling in the China Sea. As of April 9, it was unable to make port in Hong Kong because of the outbreak of the SARS epidemic. Both servicemen work in the same company in support of F-18 Hornet jet fighters.

Mothers Barbara Strickland and Kathi Avery keep track of the carrier on the Internet.

“These boys wanted big toys. You can’t get any bigger than a carrier,” Barbara Strickland said.

The mothers say the community can support their boys by adding time to their shared ship-to-shore phone card. People can add time to the phone cards through the phone-card company by calling (800) 569-2018 and referencing ship-to-shore card No. 95806373682881. Payment would be by credit card.

The Carl Vinson is 1,092 feet long and 252 feet wide. It carries 70 planes, minus one dropped into the Pacific, Kathi Avery noted. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

The carrier has 24 floors, a police department, a jail, a barber shop, laundry, convenience store, several mess halls and includes a yacht for the captain.

During Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War, the carrier was a spearhead ship. More information on the ship can be found at

Another friend of the two boys from Summit County, Jon Hobson, serves aboard the USS Robert Bradley, while another, Nelson Warren, also is a Marine.

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