U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Nimitz Departs Naval Base Kitsap for Training and Deployment

The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departed Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton on April 27 for training and deployment.

The aircraft carrier completed a 27-day quarantine period and tested all hands for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prior to departure to “ensure the crew was healthy and ready to conduct operations at sea”.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a sailor assigned to USS Nimitz tested positive for COVID-19. The individual was put into isolation and removed from the ship after experiencing symptoms. This made Nimitz one of the four U.S. Navy aircraft carriers to report coronavirus infection.

The carrier recently completed its Carrier Incremental Availability at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF). PSNS & IMF workers teamed up with contractors and Nimitz’ ship’s force to conduct a combined 17,500 man-days of work on the ship from Feb. 21. The work completed on USS Nimitz during the availability, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ranged from the flight deck and aircraft elevators to berthing upgrades and combat system improvements.

The U.S, Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF). (Photo by Scott Hansen, PSNS & IMF)

While underway, Nimitz will participate in a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). COMPTUEX is an intensive exercise designed to fully integrate units of a carrier strike group (CSG), while testing a strike group’s ability as a whole to carry out sustained combat operations from the sea. Ships, squadrons and staff will be tested across every core warfare area within their mission sets through a variety of simulated and live events, including air warfare, strait transits, and responses to surface and subsurface contacts and electronic attacks.

“I am incredibly proud of this team,” Rear Adm. Yvette M. Davids, commander, CSG 11. “The men and women of Carrier Strike Group 11 joined the military and raised their right hand because they had a calling to serve for moments precisely like this — with our nation and our citizens facing such significant challenges. Our nation looks to us to be ready to return to sea, to execute our mission, and to support our national security objectives. We are humbled and honored to do so.”

“Dealing with the challenges of the COVID pandemic has been difficult, so I’m very pleased that our mitigation efforts have put us in a position to get underway,” said Capt. Max Clark, commanding officer. “We are all looking forward to training and operating again. I give the crew all the credit. From the beginning, they have done all that I and Navy leadership have asked them to do — face coverings, social distancing, continuous ship sanitization, testing and periods of quarantine; all executed with precision and professionalism. Without their hard work and personal sacrifices, getting this warship out to sea would not have been possible. And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge our Navy families that serve as our bedrock of support.”

In addition to Nimitz, Nimitz Carrier Strike Group ships and units scheduled to conduct COMPTUEX are Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Princeton (CG-59), homeported in San Diego, Calif.; Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, USS Sterett (DDG-104), homeported in San Diego, Calif., and USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), homeported in Everett, Wash.; Destroyer Squadron 9 based in Bremerton, Wash.; and Carrier Air Wing 17 and its associated squadrons and personnel from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Wash., NAS Lemoore, Calif., NAS North Island, Calif., and Naval Base Ventura County, Calif.

All NIM CSG units will complete COVID-19 testing prior to getting underway or embarking in addition to having completed a fast cruise or quarantine of at least 14 days.

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.

File image of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) underway in the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Siobhana R. McEwen/Released).

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