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Special Collections

Carl Vinson Memorial Exhibit

The Carl Vinson Memorial Exhibit is located in the North Clarke Street Entrance to Russell Library. Gallery hours are 10AM-5PM during regular university sessions.

The Vinson memorabilia contained in this exhibit has been loaned to Georgia College by the family of the late Charles T. Snead. The exhibit was made possible through the leadership of GC Foundation and the donations from many friends and admirers of Carl Vinson.

For more information, try the following links about Carl Vinson.

Carl Vinson Biography

Carl Vinson was a distinguished member of the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 50 consecutive years. Vinson's early years were spent in the middle Georgia area. He was one of seven children born to Edward S. and Ann Vinson on a farm near Milledgeville in 1883. Vinson earned a law degree from Mercer University in 1902 and began his practice in his hometown.

Vinson's political career also began in Milledgeville, where he served as County Prosecutor  and Judge. He would also have a stint as a state legislator. Vinson's national career in the House of Representatives began in November 1914, just days before his thirty-first birthday, a post he would hold until 1964. During his tenure in the House, Vinson served under nine Presidents, from Wilson to Johnson.

During his distinguished career, Vinson was responsible for the expansion of the U.S. military, particularly the Navy--he was referred to as the "Father of the Two Ocean Navy." He also helped to ensure the continued existence of the United States Marine Corps, and kept funding for the Department of Defense intact despite legislative efforts to reduce it. He is credited for advocating military preparedness and his efforts to expand the Air Force, Marines and the Navy pre-dated the attack on Pearl Harbor and the American entrance into World War II. After the end of the war Vinson continued to work for a strong military.

Watch Carl Vinson discuss his life and career. This clip was provided courtesy of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia. For more information about that collection please visit them here.

Images below are from Carl Vinson Day on November 17, 1964. This event celebrated the career of Carl Vinson and his contributions to the citizens of Georgia and the nation.

Carl Vinson Quotations

Quotations by Carl Vinson

  • "We must buy the defense regardless of cost. I say that enemy capabilities - not dollars - determine our defense needs."
  • "I am a hater of war and a lover of peace...but I call God to witness that peace to be had must sometimes be battled for."
  • "Quite literally, my service started with the Springfield Rifle and is ending with the Polaris Submarine and the intercontinental ballistic missile."

On advising a younger congressman on legislative maneuvering...

  • "Never let them all get mad at once-you lose control. It's all right if they get mad one at a time."
  • "No country has a moral right to demand that her sailors go into battle with strength and equipment inferior to an opponent's."
  • "Now general, don't take off your shoes 'till you get to the creek."
  • Vinson on the Telephone: "All right, Vinson, of Georgia. Here's the thing le's do. I'll he'p you."

Quotations about Carl Vinson

  • Admiral Nimitz: 
    "Mr. Vinson has forgotten more about the Navy than most Admirals will ever know."
  • A Colleague in Congress: 
    "The Old Operator can get more results by raising his eyebrows than most men do by two hours of desk pounding."
  • Admiral Leahy: 
    "Vinson contributed more to the national defense (from 1935-1945) than any other single person in the country except the president himself."
  • A Political Opponent: 
    "He (Vinson) combines statesmanship and cunning to a rare degree."
  • A Friend Explaining Vinson's Campaign Style: 
    "He would spend 20 straight hours ranging the towns and villages, the piney woods, and the creek bottoms, speechifying, talking, shaking hands - and he had to take a fresh chew of tobacco from every farmer who offered one."
  • Lyndon Johnson: 
    Watch President Johnson discuss Vinson. This clip of Johnson speaking, with an introduction provided by Dr. Larry Elowitz, was provided courtesy of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia. For more information about that collection please visit them here.

Carl Vinson Timeline

November 18, 1883
Carl Vinson was born to Edward S. and Ann (Morris) Vinson on a farm near Milledgeville, Georgia.

1899-1902
Carl Vinson attended Georgia Military College. He would eventually graduate and attend Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. From Mercer, Vinson would earn a law degree in 1902. After graduating, he would setup a law practice in Milledgeville as on part of the Hines and Vinson firm.

1902-1914
Holds the offices of County Prosecutor, State Legislator and Baldwin County Judge.

November 3, 1914
On this day, Carl Vinson was elected to his first term as a representative for the tenth Congressional District of the State of Georgia. This would begin a fifty year career in the House of Representatives for the tenth and later sixth district.

1915-1916
During this period, Vinson was appointed to the Naval Affairs Committee. Also, he makes his first important speech on military preparedness and the need to strengthen the U.S. Navy.

1921
Vinson marries Mary Green of New Philadelphia, Ohio.

1925
Named by President Calvin Coolidge to Morrow Board to study military air power.

1932
In 1932, Vinson becomes Chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee. He would serve on this committee as chairman for 16 years. Later, the committee would be renamed the House Armed Services Committee in 1947. Vinson would continue as Chairman of this committee for 14 more years.

1934
The Vinson-Trammell Act is signed into law by FDR; the law, authorizing congressional construction of new ships to replace obsolete ones. This law is the genesis of the modern U.S. Navy.

1939-1941
During the years just before the outbreak of WWII, Vinson battled for funds to train U.S. pilots, buy planes and construct overseas air bases prior to Pearl Harbor. In 1941, Vinson successfully aides a bill through Congress that provides $3.4 billion to maintain a "Two-Ocean" Navy construction rate.

1941
Vinson establishes a $15 million Army Corp Repair Air Depot at Wellston, Ga. This depot would later become Robins Air Force Base. 

1948-1950
Vinson restores $2 billion of "defense cuts" proposed by The White House and the Department of Defense.

1951
Vinson, through his congressional work, lays the basis for a broader Selective-Service system, a stronger Army and Navy and better tactical air support.

1951-1954
During this period, Vinson contributes to advancement and maintenance of the American Military. This included: a major build-up of strategic bombers; the preservation of the Marine Corps; a separate Air Force Academy; a consolidation of military purchasing procedures and procurement practices; increase of U.S. missile production.

October 2, 1964
Vinson officially retires from Congress, after serving for fifty years. His career spanned from the 63rd to the 88th Congress.

1965-1980
Vinson receives numerous awards, honors and praise for his contributions to the nation and the state of Georgia.

March 15, 1980
The USS CARL VINSON is ceremonially launched. Carl Vinson attends the ceremony.

June 1, 1981
Carl Vinson passes away at the age of 97.

March 13, 1982
The USS CARL VINSON, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, is commissioned at Newport News, Va. The ship is a fitting tribute to Carl Vinson's life-long dedication to the U.S. Navy and the nation's defense.

USS Carl Vinson

The USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) is a Nimitz class supercarrier. This United States Naval Vessel was commissioned on March 13, 1982, in Newport News, Va. This ship was named in honor of Congressman Vinson for all of his work on behalf of the United States Navy and Armed Forces.

For more information on the USS Carl Vinson, please visit the following: