Nearly 28 years ago to the day, the carrier Carl Vinson had a visitor whose death is one of the biggest news stories of the week.
Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday, attended the ship’s christening (or maybe commissioning) with her husband, former Navy Secretary and then Virginia Sen. John Warner. The two are shown together in a photo posted on the carrier’s Facebook page, which described her as a “friend” of the ship.
The photo’s origins are unclear. The caption says it’s from the christening March 13, 1982. The ship, however, was christened March 15, 1980. The picture is probably actually from the commissioning, which took place March 13, 1982, the date of the photo.
That photo is most likely from the christening in 1980. That’s then-Secretary of the Navy Edward Hidalgo next to Elizabeth Taylor (John Lehman was Secretary when the ship was commissioned). Also notice the ship does not yet have anchors, while photos of her January 1982 trials show her with them. Other elements (the bunting, the crest, the location of the crane, the tip of the “CVN70-H611D” sign) match this photo of the christening ceremonies:
The recent picture of Liz. Taylor was at the ship’s commissioning. I was on the comissioning crew.