USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) flight deck began its transformation into a complete basketball arena Tuesday, as workers readied it for the inaugural Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game Nov. 11.
The carrier will host the Spartans of Michigan State University and the Tar Heels from the University of North Carolina on Veterans' Day. The game, to be aired live on ESPN was conceived as a way to show appreciation for active-duty service members and military veterans.
The nine-day process of constructing an arena to seat 7000 spectators is estimated to involve more than 150 construction personnel. Pieces of the arena, such as the floor, bleachers, lights and tents will be brought from all over the United States in preparation for the event.
"There are thousands of moving parts that we're trying to fit together, between the Navy, the Morale Entertainment Foundation, the schools, and ESPN. The real challenge is seeing how all the parts will mesh," said Jim Preston, a Morale Entertainment Foundation volunteer.
"We have the right people for the job - people who have helped coordinate past Olympics and Super Bowl halftime shows. The end result is going to be something to see."
In addition to all the moving parts and intricacies of setting up a basketball court on the carrier's flight deck, the construction crew will produce a secondary arena in the ship's hangar bay, to be used in the event of inclement weather.
"We're hoping we don't have to build the set-up in the hangar bay at all, as we'd have a lot of disappointed people," said George Moore, lead assistant of the Morale Entertainment Foundation. Moore explained that the overhead in the hangar bay would restrict bleacher seating and significantly reduce the number of spectators in the stands. "Hopefully, the odds will be in our favor."
Construction of the court and arena is scheduled to be completed Nov. 9, with the Spartans and Tar Heels scheduled to practice together on the finished court the following day.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.
From a Navy news release by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shentel Downes, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs.