The U.S. Navy’s Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is departing the Central Command area of responsibility and moving into the U.S. Indo-Pacific region, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced today.
“We want to thank all the men and women aboard the ships in that strike crew and the squadrons who supported Central Command now for more than 270 days, ensuring our national security and deterring conflict in a very critical region of the world,” Kirby said.
The carrier strike group is led by aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton in Bremerton, Washington. The carrier is now in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility and can be called upon for operations, training or humanitarian exercises there.
The Nimitz’s departure means there is no U.S. carrier operating in the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations. Kirby said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III believes America has “a robust presence in the Middle East.” U.S. service members are based in many nations in the Persian Gulf and there is more than enough airpower to counter any adversary.
Kirby said Austin has constant discussions with U.S. Central Command commander Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, as well as other combatant commanders. Austin must balance requirements from various parts of the world, and the United States doesn’t have an unlimited number of aircraft carriers.
As a COVID-19 mitigation measure, the Nimitz CSG began a restriction-of-movement period April 1, 2020, prior to departing their homeport of Bremerton, Washington.
Since their departure, Nimitz CSG has completed a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), conducted dual carrier operations with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), and made successful pierside port visits to Guam, Oman and Bahrain while observing strict COVID-19 restrictions. Nimitz CSG also supported Operation Inherent Resolve, participated in Malabar 2020, and provided operational and close air support to Joint Task Force – Quartz (JTF-Q) and Operation Octave Quartz (OOQ).
USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is a supercarrier of the U.S. Navy and the lead ship of her class. The ship was named after World War II Pacific fleet commander Chester W. Nimitz, USN, (1885–1966), who was the Navy’s third fleet admiral.
Nimitz was delivered to the Navy in 1975, and was commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk on 3 May 1975 by the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford. With the inactivation of USS Enterprise in 2012 and decommissioning in 2017, Nimitz is now the oldest U.S. aircraft carrier in service.