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The USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is a United States Navy supercarrier and the class’s flagship ship. She was put down, launched, and commissioned as CVAN-68, “aircraft carrier, attack, nuclear powered,” but on 30 June 1975, she was reclassified as CVN-68, “aircraft carrier, multi-mission, nuclear-powered,” as part of a fleet-wide realignment.
The US Congress approved Nimitz in fiscal year 1967, and the $106.5 million contract was granted to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. in Newport News, Virginia. On June 22, 1968, the keel was laid. Six years after Admiral Nimitz’s death, Catherine Nimitz Lay, the late Admiral’s daughter, christened the ship on May 13, 1972. Nimitz was delivered to the Navy in 1975 and commissioned by Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States, on 3 May 1975 at Naval Station Norfolk.
The USS Nimitz deployed to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time on July 7, 1976, with Carrier Air Wing 8 and the nuclear-powered cruisers USS South Carolina and USS California. Nimitz received the Battle “E” from Commander, Naval Air Force, United States Atlantic Fleet in November 1976 for being the most efficient and leading aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Fleet. The trip went off without a hitch, and the carrier arrived at Norfolk, Virginia on February 7, 1977.
From December 1, 1977, until July 20, 1978, a second uneventful Mediterranean trip was undertaken. The third deployment, to the Mediterranean, began on September 10, 1979. The ship sailed to the Indian Ocean in response to the Iran hostage crisis, which saw the US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, overrun and 52 people taken prisoner. Prior to this voyage, the Nimitz was used in the filming of The Final Countdown, a 1980 film with a scenario set onboard the Nimitz. After four months on duty, Nimitz’s decks initiated Operation Evening Light in an attempt to save the US Embassy workers. The expedition was called off after a chopper crashed in the Iranian desert while refuelling. The ship arrived in port on May 26, 1980, after a 144-day voyage at sea.
A Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler belonging to Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8) crashed on the flight deck on May 26, 1981, killing 14 crew members and wounding 45 more. After a “bolter” (missed approach), the Prowler was fuel-critical, and its crash and following fire and explosions killed or damaged nineteen additional aircraft. Despite having no relation to the tragedy, the autopsy results of seven members of the Nimitz’s enlisted flight deck crew who died and tested positive for marijuana were widely publicised.
Nimitz departed Bremerton for the Persian Gulf on February 25, 1991, to relieve USS Ranger in the wake of Operation Desert Storm, returning to Bremerton on August 24, 1991. On 1 February 1993, Nimitz went again to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, returning on 1 August 1993.
In September 1997, Nimitz (left) was patrolling in the Sea of Japan alongside Independence and Port Royal. Nimitz deployed with Carrier Air Wing Nine to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf on November 27, 1995. (CVW-9). The ship patrolled the waters around Taiwan in March 1996, becoming the first American warship to transit through the Taiwan Strait since 1976, amid Chinese missile launches in the vicinity. Prior to returning from deployment on May 20, 1996, Nimitz sailed the Persian Gulf in support of Southern Watch.
Nimitz began transiting across South America on September 21, 2001, after sea trials at the Virginia Capes, and arrived at NAS North Island in San Diego, California, on November 13, 2001. For the journey, aircraft from Carrier Air Reserve Wing 20 were deployed. A four-month post-shakedown maintenance availability was undertaken at North Island from January to May 2002, during which time the Advanced combat direction system was installed.
The ship was given the Meritorious Unit Commendation in January 2010 while in the Persian Gulf for back-to-back deployments in support of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. Admiral Gary Roughead awarded the medal at a ceremony aboard the ship on January 6, 2010. In February 2010, the Nimitz docked in Hong Kong for five days to let the crew to recover and explore the city. Despite China’s prior refusal to allow the carrier USS Kitty Hawk to visit, the visit took place.
The coronavirus was believed to have spread to Nimitz in April 2020, with the first case recorded on April 7th. After displaying symptoms the previous week, one sailor had a positive test and was placed in isolation and evacuated off the ship. Another crew member tested positive, but was not working on the ship, according to reports.
The ship, together with the USS Ronald Reagan, was deployed in the South China Sea on July 5, 2020. Following a roughly ten-month deployment in the Fifth Fleet area of operation, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller ordered Nimitz to return to her home port on December 31, 2020. Along with USS Makin Island and her amphibious readiness group, the carrier was aiding the evacuation of US soldiers from Somalia at the time.
Acting Defense Secretary Miller ordered Nimitz to redeploy on 3 January 2021, in an unexpected turnaround, citing “recent threats expressed by Iranian authorities against President Trump and other U.S. government personnel.”
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USNS 1ST LT BALDOMERO LOPEZ TAK 3010
UNIT 100466 BOX 1
FPO AP 96671
USS Nimitz address information:
USNS 1ST LT BALDOMERO LOPEZ TAK 3010
UNIT 100466 BOX __
FPO AP 96671
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