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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) at sea near San Diego, CA
USS Nimitz (CVN-68) at sea near San Diego, CA
Career (United States)
Name: USS Nimitz
Namesake: Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
Ordered: 31 March 1967
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 22 June 1968
Launched: 13 May 1972
Commissioned: 3 May 1975
In service: 10
Reclassified: CVN-68
Homeport: NAS North Island, San Diego, California
Motto: Teamwork, a Tradition
Nickname: "Old Salt"
Status: in active service, as of 2010
General characteristics
Class and type: Nimitz-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: Approximately 101,000 long tons (103,000 t) full load
Length: Overall: 1,092 feet (332.8 m)
Waterline: 1,040 feet (317.0 m)
Beam: Overall: 252 ft (76.8 m)
Waterline: 134 ft (40.8 m)
Draft: Maximum navigational: 37 ft (11.3 m)
Limit: 41 ft (12.5 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors
4 × steam turbines
4 × shafts
260,000 shp (194 MW)
Speed: 31.5 knots (58.3 km/h)[1]
Range: Essentially unlimited distance; 20 years
Complement: Ship's company: 3,200
Air wing: 2,480
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-48E 3-D air search radar
AN/SPS-49(V)5 2-D air search radar
AN/SPQ-9B target acquisition radar
AN/SPN-46 air traffic control radars
AN/SPN-43C air traffic control radar
AN/SPN-41 landing aid radars
4 × Mk 91 NSSM guidance systems
4 × Mk 95 radars
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
SLQ-32A(V)4 Countermeasures suite
SLQ-25A Nixie torpedo countermeasures
Armament: 2 × 21 cell Sea RAM
2 × Mk 29 Sea Sparrow
Armor: Classified
Aircraft carried: 90 fixed wing and helicopters
Badge:
Seal of Nimitz
Monitor showing data about USS Nimitz

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is a supercarrier in the United States Navy, the lead ship of its class. She is one of the largest warships in the world. She was laid down, launched and commissioned as CVAN-68, but was redesignated CVN-68 (nuclear-powered multimission aircraft carrier) on 30 June 1975 as part of the fleet realignment of that year.

The ship was named for Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who commanded the Pacific fleet in World War II and was the Navy’s last five-star admiral. Unlike all subsequent Nimitz class carriers, Nimitz only uses its namesake's surname. It is also the only carrier of its class and the most recent supercarrier not to be named for someone who held elective office in the United States.

Nimitz was homeported at Naval Station Norfolk until 1987, when she was relocated to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. After her second nuclear reactor refueling in 2001, Nimitz was relocated to NAS North Island, in San Diego, California.

Contents

Construction

The keel of Nimitz was laid down 22 June 1968 by Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia. She was christened in 1972 by Catherine Nimitz Lay, daughter of the late Admiral Nimitz. Nimitz was delivered to the Navy in 1975 and she was commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk, Va on 3 May 1975 by President Gerald Ford.

Nimitz Carrier Strike Group

Nimitz is part of Carrier Strike Group 11 (CSG-11) with Carrier Air Wing 11 embarked, with Nimitz as the flagship of the battle group and the home of the commander of Destroyer Squadron 23.

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Ships of DESRON-23

Squadrons of CVW-11

  • Strike Fighter Squadron 14 (VFA-14) "Tophatters"[3]
  • Strike Fighter Squadron 41 (VFA-41) "Black Aces"
  • Strike Fighter Squadron 86 (VFA-86) "Sidewinders"
  • Strike Fighter Squadron 97 (VFA-97) "Warhawks"
  • Electronic Attack Squadron 135 (VAQ-135) "Black Ravens"
  • Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 117 (VAW-117) "Wallbangers"
  • Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 6 (HS-6) "Indians"
  • Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 Detachment 4 (VRC-30) "Providers"

Service history

1970s

USS Nimitz first deployed to the Mediterranean on 7 July 1976 with Carrier Air Wing 8 embarked in company with the nuclear powered cruisers USS South Carolina and USS California. In November 1976, Nimitz was awarded the Battle "E" from Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet, for being the most efficient and foremost aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Fleet. The cruise was uneventful, and the carrier returned to Norfolk, Virginia on 7 February 1977.

A second uneventful Mediterranean cruise was conducted from 1 December 1977 to 20 July 1978. The third deployment began on 10 September 1979 to the Mediterranean. The ship moved to the Indian Ocean in response to the Iran hostage crisis in which the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran was overtaken and 52 hostages were held. After four months on station, Operation Evening Light was launched from Nimitz's decks in an attempt to rescue the U.S. Embassy staff. The mission was aborted after a helicopter crashed at a refueling point in the Iranian desert. The ship finally returned home 26 May 1980, having spent 144 days at sea.

1980s

F/A-18 Hornet landing on USS Nimitz

On 26 May 1981, an EA-6B Prowler crashed on the flight deck, killing 14 crewmen and injuring 45 others.[4] Forensic testing conducted found that several members of the deceased flight deck crew tested positive for marijuana. As a result of this incident, President Ronald Reagan instituted a "Zero Tolerance" drug policy across all of the armed services - which started the mandatory drug testing of all US service personnel.[5] Nimitz deployed again to the Mediterranean on 3 August 1981. The ship, in company with USS Forrestal (CV-59), conducted a Freedom of Navigation exercise in international waters in the Gulf of Sidra near Libya on 18 and 19 August 1981. On the morning of 19 August 1981, two F-14As of VF-41 were engaged by two Libyan Su-22s, resulting in the two Libyan aircraft being shot down in what became known as the Gulf of Sidra incident.

Nimitz's fourth deployment, from 10 November 1982 to 20 May 1983, was to the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas.

Nimitz deployed a fifth time on 8 March 1985. On 14 June 1985, two Lebanese gunmen hijacked TWA Flight 847, which carried 153 passengers and crew and included Americans. In response, Nimitz was deployed to the coast of Lebanon, where she remained until August 1985. The embarked Airwing 8 flew continuous sorties for 67 days, bombing several sites in Beirut including the international airport runways. The ship returned to Norfolk on 4 October 1985.

Nimitz, again with CVW-8 embarked, departed Norfolk for her sixth and final Mediterranean deployment on 30 December 1986. After four months and numerous Mediterranean port visits, the carrier crossed the equator en route to Rio de Janeiro. From Rio she proceeded south around Cape Horn and into the Pacific. After a brief stop in San Diego, California to offload her East Coast air wing, she arrived at her new home port of Bremerton, Washington on 2 July 1987.

Nimitz deployed to the Western Pacific with Carrier Air Wing 9 embarked on 2 September 1988. During the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Nimitz provided security off the coast of South Korea. In October she operated in the North Arabian Sea participating in Operation Earnest Will, the protection of re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers. On 30 November 1988, while in the Arabian Sea, a 20 mm cannon accidentally fired during maintenance, striking a A-7 Corsair II. The ensuing fire spread to six other aircraft and there were two fatalities. The ship returned to Bremerton on 2 March 1989.

1990s

On 25 February 1991, Nimitz departed Bremerton for the Persian Gulf in relief of USS Ranger in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, returning to Bremerton on 24 August 1991. Nimitz again deployed to the Persian Gulf on 1 February 1993, in support of Operation Southern Watch (OSW), returning on 19 August 1993.

On 27 November 1995, Nimitz deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. In March 1996, she patrolled the waters off Taiwan amid missile tests conducted by the Chinese in the area, becoming the first American warship to pass though the Taiwan Strait since 1976. She also cruised the Persian Gulf in support of OSW prior to returning from deployment on 20 May 1996.

On 1 September 1997, Nimitz began an around the world cruise, again supporting OSW, that ended in Newport News on 2 March 1998. She would spend the next three years undergoing a mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) that ended 25 June 2001.

2000s

On 21 September 2001, after sea trials in the Virginia Capes, Nimitz began her transit around South America to her new home port of NAS North Island in San Diego, California, arriving there on 13 November 2001. Aircraft from Carrier Air Reserve Wing 20 were embarked for the transit. From January to May 2002, she underwent a four month post-shakedown maintenance availability at North Island. Nimitz's eleventh operational deployment began on 3 March 2003.[6] She relieved USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf in mid-April 2003, launching Carrier Air Wing 11 aircraft sorties over Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). She returned to San Diego on 5 November 2003. Nimitz and CVW-11 were awarded the 2003 Battle "E"[7] and Flatley Award [8] in early 2004.

Nimitz, again with CVW-11 embarked, deployed to the Persian Gulf on 7 May 2005, returning on 8 November 2005.[9] This deployment marked three decades of service, and was depicted in the Emmy award winning 2008 PBS documentary series Carrier.[10] In June 2006, Nimitz was awarded the 2005 Battle "E".[11]

The carrier departed North Island for her thirteenth deployment on 2 April 2007 to the Arabian Sea, relieving USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in support of OIF.[12] She anchored off Chennai, India on 2 July 2007 as part of efforts to expand bilateral defense cooperation between India and the United States.[13] Sailors participated in community work in Chennai prior to departing, on 5 July 2007, along with the destroyer USS Pinckney towards the Persian Gulf. She returned to North Island on 30 September 2007.[14]

On 24 January 2008, Nimitz deployed to the Pacific for a "surge"-deployment.[15] On 9 February 2008, two Russian Tu-95 'Bear' bombers overflew the carrier in the Western Pacific.[16] Four F/A-18C Hornets were launched when the bombers were 500 miles (800 km) away from the U.S. ships, and intercepted the bombers 50 miles (80 km) south of Nimitz. Two F/A-18s trailed one of the bombers, which buzzed the deck of the carrier twice, while the other two F/A-18s trailed another TU-95 circling about 50 miles (80 km) away from the carrier. Reportedly, there was no radio communication between the American and Russian aircraft. According to the Department of Defense, one of the two aircraft was said to have flown above Nimitz at an altitude of 2,000 feet (610 m). On the same day, Russian aircraft entered Japanese airspace, which caused the Japanese to raise protest to the Russian ambassador in Tokyo.[17]

Again, on 5 March 2008, a Russian bomber came within 3 to 5 nautical miles (6 to 9 km) and flew 2,000 feet (610 m) above Nimitz and its battle group. Two F/A-18 fighters intercepted the Russian aircraft and escorted it out of the area.[16]

Nimitz was awarded the Navy Battle "E" for battle efficiency for 2007 along with the Ney award for food service excellence. She returned to her homeport of San Diego, California on 3 June 2008.

Nimitz Strike Group, including CVW-11, departed the States for a scheduled Western Pacific deployment on 31 July 2009,[18] and began to fly combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom September 21[19].

In 2005, Nimitz participated in the filming of the PBS production of the miniseries Carrier (documentary).[20]

In January 2010, while in the Persian Gulf, the ship was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its back-to-back deployments in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. The award was presented by Admiral Gary Roughead in a ceremony on the ship on January 6, 2010.[21]

Nimitz visited the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong for five days in February to allow it's crew to rest and visit the city. The visit occurred despite China previously announcing it had been disallowed.[22][23]

See also

References

  1. ^ Speed Thrills III - Max speed of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers
  2. ^ http://www.cds23.navy.mil/
  3. ^ http://www.csfwp.navy.mil/cvw-11/squadrons.htm
  4. ^ Anderson, Kurt; Beaty, Jonathan (8 June 1981). "Night of Flaming Terror". TIME in partnership with CNN (Time.com). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,922544-1,00.html. Retrieved 2 October 2008. 
  5. ^ Ackerman, D. L. (1991). A history of drug testing. In R. H. Coombs & L. J. West (Eds.), Drug testing: Issues and options (pp. 3-21). Oxford: Oxford University Press,
  6. ^ http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=6720
  7. ^ http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=12854
  8. ^ http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=13586
  9. ^ http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=18250
  10. ^ "Nimitz Highlighted in PBS TV Series and Premiere". U.S. Navy. 23 April 2008. http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=36564. 
  11. ^ http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=24071
  12. ^ http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=29519
  13. ^ "USS Nimitz not known to be carrying nuke warheads". The Times of India. -26 Jun 2007. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/USS_Nimitz_not_carrying_nuke_warheads/articleshow/2151475.cms. 
  14. ^ http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=32232
  15. ^ Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Set to Deploy
  16. ^ a b Reuters (5 March 2008). "Russian bomber intercepted near U.S. ship". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23490503/. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  17. ^ "Russian bombers fly over US aircraft carrier". 12 February 2008. http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,534621,00.html. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  18. ^ Nimitz Strike Group Set To Deploy
  19. ^ USS Nimitz Launches First Sorties, Support Coalition Troops in Afghanistan
  20. ^ "Carrier" PBS Retrieved 2 March 2010
  21. ^ Liewer, Steve, "Meritorious Unit Honor Presented To Nimitz Crew", San Diego Union-Tribune, January 12, 2010.
  22. ^ "China decries Barack Obama's plan to meet Dalai Lama" 12 February 2010. BBC News Retrieved 2 March 2010
  23. ^ Chiến hạm Hoa Kỳ ghé Hong Kong cùng lúc đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma tới Hoa Kỳ (Vietnamese)

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