From: Apex, NC, USA
First, welcome aboard, cdnice!
The colors are typically fainter for weak strength ground, air, or ship garrisons at the base, and darker/deeper for stronger numbers of men, planes, or ships present. Different colors on the individual LCU icons represent different nationalities, Chinese, US, Brit, Indian, etc.
I don't know of any way in the game to repeat the arrival messages. You can check the typical arrival bases, SF, Sydney, etc, to see if anyone new is there, or use one of the player created tools, like WitP Decoder or the newer WitP Tracker. These are seperate applications that run and keep track of many useful details about the game.
Your carrier, and any other ships that are due to upgrade, need to be disbanded into a port where there is also a Ship Repair Yard. Then, if their damage levels are not too high, they will upgrade and take a few system damage points to represent the upgrade work being completed over time.
If you haven't gone there yet, I highly recommend the "List of Must Read Threads" thread that is pinned in the main WitP forum. Tons of good info in there!
"Good times will set you free" - Jimmy Buffett
"They need more rum punch" - Me
Artwork by The Amazing Dixie