7 Jul 1976-7 Feb 1977: Nimitz deployed to the Mediterranean for the first time, accompanied by guided missile cruisers California (CGN-36), South Carolina and Josephus Daniels (CG-27), guided missile destroyers Barney (DDG-6) and Mitscher (DDG-35), ammunition ship Butte (AE-27) and replenishment oiler Milwaukee (AOR-2). These operations marked the first time in ten years that nuclear-powered ships steamed in the Mediterranean. Nimitz sailed over 40,000 miles and launched more than 9,000 sorties during her deployment, and her aircrew flew more than 16,000 hours.
17 Jul 1976: Nimitz relieved aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-60) off Morocco. RADM Eugene J. Carroll, Commander, Carrier TF 60, and his staff transferred to Nimitz while she was underway.
27 Jul 1976: Nimitz stood by in readiness to assist in the possible evacuation of over 1,100 Americans from Lebanon, a country wracked by civil war.
19 Aug 1976: King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain visited the ship.
31 Oct 1976: Nimitz participated in Display Determination, an exercise with over 45 Allied vessels, designed to test North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) power projection across the Mediterranean.
31 Oct 1976: Secretary of the Navy Middendorf presented the coveted RADM Clarence W. McClusky Award to VA-82 on board Nimitz. Named in honor of the naval aviator of the Battle of Midway fame, the award symbolized meritorious achievement by an attack squadron and recognized the dynamic traits and inspirational leadership exemplified by McClusky during his naval career.
18-19 Nov 1976: A detachment from Nimitzs embarked CVW-8, comprising one E-2B (VAW-116), two A-6Es (VA-35) and one EA-6B (VAQ-130), participated in Joint Maritime Course 764. The 40 man contingent joined British, Canadian, German and Norwegian forces in the multi-national exercise conducted off northern and eastern Scotland.
20 Nov 1976: LCDR Peter T. Rodrick (VAQ-130) made the ships 20,000th arrested landing, in a Prowler on arresting gear No. 2.
25-27 Jan 1977: Aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CV-67) relieved Nimitz at NS Rota, Spain, and the latter set course for the U.S.
10 Mar-10 Jul 1977: The ship conducted an Extended SRA (ESDRA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
11-15 Jul 1977: Nimitz conducted post-ESDRA sea trials off the Virginia capes.
11 Dec 1977: Nimitz relieved Saratoga at Rota during the formers second deployment to the Mediterranean . The crew assimilated Grumman F-14A Tomcats, Lockheed S-3A Vikings and SH-3Hs for the first time, which an observer called an impressive accomplishment in view of the consistently poor weather encountered in the winter months.
15-20 Mar 1978: Nimitz visited Venice , Italy , where Cardinal Albino Luciani (subsequently Pope John Paul I) called upon the ship.
6 Apr 1978: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Minister of Defense Ezer Weizman visited Nimitz while she lay off Haifa , Israel .
29 May 1978: Nimitz participated in Open Gate, a NATO exercise off the Portuguese coast. Allied aircraft flying from Portugal and Gibraltar repeatedly simulated attacking Nimitz. NATO Secretary General Joseph Luns also visited the ship during this time (34 May).
16-29 May 1978: Over 70 ships and submarines tangled in Dawn Patrol, one of the largest NATO exercises that Nimitz had participated in to date, stretching across the central and eastern Mediterranean. Nimitzs aircrew tested their mettle against their counterparts flying aircraft from aircraft carriers Forrestal (CV-59) and the French Navys FS Foch (R-99), as well as against USAF and NATO commands. CVW-8 flew over 1,800 sorties and 4,300 hours during Dawn Patrols brisk pace.
7-10 Jul 1978: Nimitz turned over to John F. Kennedy at Rota, before coming about from the Mediterranean .
2 Oct 1978: Nimitz hosted the ceremony as ADM Harry D. Train, II, relieved ADM Kidd as Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Commander-in-Chief Atlantic, and Commander, Atlantic Fleet.
3 Oct 1978-5 Jan 1979: The ship completed a selected restricted availability (SRA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Although Nimitz concluded the SRA on 13 December a lack of pier space at NS Norfolk forced her to remain yard-bound.
20 Feb-2 Mar 1979: Nimitz conducted refresher training with Fleet Training Group, Guantánamo Bay. As the crew completed those evolutions it shifted from a conventional five-day work week to 10-hour days, in response to the energy crisis.
May-Jul 1979: Upon returning to Norfolk from carrier qualifications, the ship performed repairs to a propulsion plant structural defect.
23 May-15 Aug 1979: Scenes from the motion picture The Final Countdown were filmed on board Nimitz and aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk (CV-63), the latter temporarily donning the hull number 68 to maintain continuity for the production. "Vicariously, I began to feel the spirit of camaraderie that existed on this vessel," actor Kirk Douglas, the films principal star (who was later deeply moved by the heroism displayed during the tragic accident of 26-27 May 1981) declared. They all depended on one another to stay alive.
5 Jun 1979: Jacques-Yves Cousteau, French maritime explorer, ecologist and researcher, and his wife Simone, visited the ship at Norfolk .
15 Sep 1979: Nimitz turned over to aircraft carrier America (CV-66), while en route to the Mediterranean. Both ships steamed slowly westward, several hundred miles west of the Iberian Peninsula, accomplishing a unique Blue Water procedure.
27 Oct 1979: AZ2 Kathy Hughes, Naval Air Facility (NAF) Mildenhall, U.K., re-enlisted in VA-35s Ready Room, the first female sailor to re-enlist on board Nimitz. Hughes flew to Naples, Italy, for the ceremony while the ship visited that port.
31 Oct-12 Nov 1979: Nimitz played a key role in CrisEx-79, a joint naval amphibious exercise with the Spaniards that envisioned a scenario to repel invaders from gaining a foothold along the Spanish Mediterranean coast; the evolution involved more than two dozen ships and submarines and 35,000 troops. Nimitz operated closely with Spanish destroyer SPS Mendez Nuńez (D-63), which she integrated into her screen.
Nov 1979: LCDR John M. Luecke and LT(JG) Frederick Eliot (VA-35) completed the 50,000th landing on board Nimitz, in an A-6E.
3 Nov 1979: Fast Eagle 111, an F-14A (BuNo 160383), CDR David J. Formo, squadron CO, and LCDR Nicholas J. DeLello (VF-41), failed to recover from a high speed, low level (80º90º) practice combat air patrol interception vs. USAF General Dynamics (Grumman) F-111 Aardvarks off the eastern Spanish coast, and flew into the water nose low, killing both men.
Dec 1979: Nimitz and Forrestal participated in MultiPlEx, an exercise incorporating two carrier task forces in combined operations in the Mediterranean. During the evolution the two carriers operated as adversaries and sent mock air strikes against each other, as well as hunted submarines Shark (SSN-591) and Italian NMM Gianfranco Gazzana Priaroggia (S-502). Nimitzs screen comprised guided missile cruiser Texas (CGN-39), guided missile destroyer Semmes (DDG-18) and frigate Bowen (FF-1079). CAPT John R. Batzler praised the crews of the three ships as performing in an outstanding manner.
6 Dec 1979: Aircraft No. 505, an A-6A (BuNo 157011), LT(JG) Mark S. Gontkovic and LT(JG) Anthony J.R. Bilotti (VA-35), crashed off Avgo Nisi, a small deserted Greek island north of Crete utilized as a bombing range. The third aircraft in a bombing run, 505 rolled in for its strike but suffered what appeared to be a catastrophic wing failure, possibly due to being struck accidentally by weapons released by the number two Intruder, impacting the water during its dive and killing both men.
16 Dec 1979: Aircraft No. 612, an EA-6B (BuNo 158037) from VAQ-134), experienced fuel starvation during an emergency divert to Palermo , Sicily . LT(JG) Robert W. Dark, the pilot, was killed during ejection.
21 Dec 1979: Nimitz anchored off Naples . CAPT Batzler noted that the worst weather we have ever seen greeted the ship, with heavy seas and winds gusting to 75 knots that threatened to prohibit the ship from entering port and crewmembers from going home for holiday leave. As the storm passed, her crew flew successive trips to the airport to enable men to catch their Christmas Charter Flight. During this period, however, Iran 's pro-Western government collapsed, forcing the Shah into exile in the United States. Tensions among opposing groups produced a state of near-anarchy within the troubled land. One of the more radical groups, Students Following the Imams Line, blamed America for the discord, and sought to mobilize support for their policies by seizing the United States Embassy in Teheran on 4 November 1979. Receiving tacit approval from the Ayatollah R. Khomeini, the extremists continued to hold 52 hostages. America was outraged by the act, the government responding by ordering naval forces to the region. No sooner did crewmembers on leave begin going home then the Navy ordered Nimitz to relieve Kitty Hawk in the Indian Ocean. The ship used much of her standdown period for taking on supplies and preparing for operations in that region.
3 Jan 1980: VADM George E.R. Kinnear, II, Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, held a high level planning conference concerning the ships deployment to the Indian Ocean, on board Nimitz off Naples.
4 Jan 1980: Nimitz sailed in response to the Iranian crisis, leading a nuclear-powered battle group including California and Texas from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean . The three ships stood out of separate Italian ports and rendezvoused, sailing at a speed of advance of 25 knots around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope and into the Indian Ocean to Gonzo Station (derisively named by sailors serving there, supposedly deriving the term from Gulf of Oman Naval Zoo Operation).
12 Jan 1980: Nimitz crossed the equator, her shellbacks initiating 4,423 pollywogs into King Neptunes Realm.
23 Jan 1980: Nimitz arrived on Gonzo Station. A goodly company of ships assembled under TG 70.1 for several hours of formation steaming and station keeping, comprising: aircraft carriers Nimitz, Midway (CV-41) and Kitty Hawk; guided missile cruisers Bainbridge (CGN-25), California, Jouett (CG-29) and Texas; guided missile destroyers Berkeley (DDG-15) and Parsons (DDG-33); frigates Knox (FF-1052) and Stein (FF-1065); replenishment oilers Roanoke (AOR-7) and Wabash (AOR-5); and oilers Mispillion (AO-105) and Passumpsic (AO-107). Soviet aircraft, ships and submarines regularly shadowed Nimitz while she operated at Gonzo Station; the bombers consistently forced Tomcat aircrew from VF-41 and VF-84 to intercept and escort them away from the carrier. Soviet modified Kashin class guided missile destroyer Sderzhanny (DDG-286) closely shadowed Nimitz during much of this period. The ships standard schedule called for flying five-six flights of aircraft launches, known as cycles, a day for six days, followed by a two day stand down for aircraft maintenance, a grueling experience for her crew. Most of Nimitzs stand down days nonetheless included launching alert aircraft or conducting helo operations. In addition, the crew performed 10 no notice drills, exercises designed to counter missile threats to the battle groupwhile in the area. The carrier operated principally under Battle Group 2, commanded by RADM James R. Sanderson.
12 Apr 1980: Nimitz passed her 100th day at sea. ADM Thomas B. Hayward, Chief of Naval Operations, authorized the crew to celebrate with a two-beer ration, the first time that alcoholic beverages were officially permitted on board a U.S. Navy man of war since the abolition of the wine mess during WWI.
24-25 Apr 1980: Operations Eagle Claw/Evening Light launched from Nimitz's flight deck to rescue the hostages held by the Iranians. As hundreds of men of the ships company cheered and gave them thumbs up signs, eight Sikorsky RH-53D Sea Stallions took off for Desert One, a pre-selected refueling site in the Iranian desert, a distance of almost 600 nautical miles, to load a 120 man Army assault team and proceed to two additional sites. Six Lockheed C-130 Hercules with the ground rescue forces flew on a different track and time schedule from al Masirah Island, Oman, to Desert One. Helicopter No. 6 experienced a mechanical malfunction approximately two hours into the operation and was forced to come about. A haboob, a huge dust cloud, slammed into the formation barely an hour later. The helo crews resolutely broke out of it and continued, but encountered a second larger haboob almost immediately. Helicopter No. 5 suffered a critical failure and returned to Nimitz. Helicopter No. 2 suffered multiple mechanical failures while en route, though the crew chose to continue to Desert One to effect repairs, which subsequently proved impossible without facilities and parts. Planning called for a minimum of six operational helos to rescue the hostages, and with only five capable of continuing, commanders aborted the mission. While repositioning a helo at Desert One to permit another to top off its fuel tanks for the return, however, one of the helos collided with a refueling Hercules. Flames immediately engulfed both aircraft, killing eight men and injuring five others. Only the swift evacuation of the burning plane prevented further casualties, but ammunition on both aircraft began cooking off, throwing molten fragments into the area. The tragic mishap damaged one or more of the Sea Stallions beyond repair, so the helo crews transferred into the Hercules and returned. In the confusion of the darkness combined with possible discovery by the Iranians, an assessment was difficult without more time, something the would-be rescuers did not possess. Air Force MAJs Richard L. Bakke, Harold L. Lewis and Lyn D. McIntosh, CAPT Charles T. McMillan, II, and TSGT Joel C. Mayo (8th Special Operations Squadron); and Marine SSGT Dewey L. Johnson, SGT John D. Harvey and CPL George N. Holmes, Jr., died. The operation was feasible and probably represented the plan with the best chance of success at the time the mission was launched, those who examined the missions failure believed, Planning was adequate except for the number of backup helicopters and the provisions for weather contingencies.
Mar-Apr 1980: Gonzos I and II pitted elements of the battle group in two-day multiple threat scenarios against each other.
8 May 1980: Aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and guided missile cruisers South Carolina and Virginia (CGN-38) relieved Nimitz and her group, after the crew endured 108 days on station. During this 270 day extended deployment the men operated for 144 of them continuously at sea, including 115 of Iranian contingency operations. Coming about, Nimitz began her 11,500 mile voyage back to Norfolk, stopping en route off Ascension Island to embark inspectors.
"I told you that I had confidence in your high state of preparedness for any task which might be demanded of you," ADM Hayward told the crew during their time in the Gulf. "You proved without question in the ensuing months that my confidence and that of your countrymen across America and your shipmates throughout the Navy was especially well placed
." Your countrymen are very proud of you, and they have every right to be.
26 May 1980: President James E. Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, Secretary of the Navy Edward Hidalgo, ADM Train and VADM Kinnear greeted the crew upon their return to Norfolk.
29 Aug-17 Oct 1980: Deploying briefly to the North Atlantic, Nimitz participated in Teamwork 80, a multi-threat exercise with British, Canadian, Dutch, German and Norwegian forces. Heavy weather and high seas hindered Teamwork 80. Soviet Tupolev Tu-22M Backfires and Tu-95D Bears penetrated several times into the exercise area but none overflew the ship and Tomcat aircrew from VF-41 and VF-84 intercepted the Russians and escorted them out of the area.
27 Oct 1980-26 Jan 1981: Nimitz sailed up the Elizabeth River to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for an SRA.
2 May 1981: His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, visited the ship at Norfolk .
26-28 May 1981: During work ups off the eastern Florida coast Aircraft No. CY 610, an EA-6B (BuNo 159910), 1st LT Steve E. White, USMC, CAPT Elwood M. Armstrong, Jr., USMC, and 1st LT Lawrence D. Cragun, USMC (Marine Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron (VMAQ)-2 Det Y), crashed on the flight deck, starboard side. A moderate breeze touched the night, and the ship steered 160º at five knots, reaching 30º293N, 080º220W, during the second dog watch on Tuesday the 26th. A particularly dark night with thin clouds above, no visible horizon, heavy haze at lower altitude and thunderstorms moving toward Nimitz produced problems for aircrew in the landing cycle. Suddenly, the landing signal officer shouted, "Power! Power!" as 610 dropped too low while landing at 2351. The Prowler hit the ship and its impact sheared off the top of the aircraft. The EA-6B slammed into three Corsair IIs spotted forward and then hurtled into a nearby Tomcat, pushing it into two adjacent F-14As. The EA-6B exploded near aircraft loaded with live ordnance, killing the crew and sending a fireball rolling across the flight deck and cooking off 20 mm ammunition, which spewed fragments into the men on deck. Sailors bravely plied hoses onto the inferno as CAPT Batzler ordered left 30º rudder and brought the ship about 90º to come out of the wind, forcing smoke away from the hose teams. A secondary explosion erupted at 0021 near catapult No. 2, probably caused by an AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile. The fire blazed into the mid watch and at one point caused the ship to lose steerageway, though her crew regained control of Nimitz, battling the flames until 0219. The fire fouled the flight deck and forced about a dozen aircraft aloft to emergency divert ashore to Charleston, S.C., before they ran out of fuel. Destroyer Moosbrugger (DD-980) manned her pilot rescue detail, and her helo joined two from Nimitz to search throughout the night for survivors, although they only recovered some aircraft wreckage. Moosbrugger also refueled one of the carriers helos during the ordeal, and all three helo aircrew performed superbly, including at least one that landed on Nimitz's fantail at the edge of the wind envelope during the height of the fire, a dangerous maneuver which observers said could not be done under the circumstances, until Sailors persevered to aid their shipmates. Nimitz passed through several rainstorms through the nightmare, however, the merits of avoiding increased wind over the deck offset difficulties imposed by the rain and the captain chose to keep way to reduce wind interference. Initial reports, which proved to be erroneous, indicated that some men were blown over the side. In addition to the three Marines on board 610, ABH3 Robert W. Iser, FN Dennis R. Driscoll, AA Thomas E. Barnhart, AA Frank J. Swider, Jr., AR Peter R. Iannetti and AR Jackie L. Gothard from the ships company, together with AO3 Lewis J. McLaurin (VF-41), AN Alberto Colon (VF-84), AN Arthuro Hinojosa, Jr. (VF-84), and AN Patrick D. Louis and AEAN Ronald L. Wildermuth (VF-41) died. The tragedy injured a further 48 Sailors and Marines. The ships medical department treated casualties, evacuating 21 of the more critically hurt to the Navy Regional Medical Center at Jacksonville , Fla. , which issued a total recall of all staff to respond to the emergency. Four of the most severely burned men went on to the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center at San Antonio, Texas. The fire destroyed three Tomcats and 610, and damaged two Tomcats, nine Corsair IIs, one Intruder, three Vikings and one Sea King. The Naval Air Rework Facility at Jacksonville assisted with repairing eight A-7Es damaged by the fire, one of which was so badly damaged that it needed to be taken to the facility. The Navy determined that a combination of environmental, mechanical and human factors caused 610s loss, and recommended a zealous anti-drug program that became known as "zero tolerance." Nimitz returned to Pier 12 at Norfolk during the afternoon watch on the 28th to repair damaged catapults, getting underway for additional training two days later.
18-19 Aug 1981: Nimitz and Forrestal conducted an open ocean missile exercise in the Gulf of Sidra . On the 19th newspapers across the nation proudly carried the headlines: "U.S. 2 Libya 0," as two F-14A crews, CDR Hank Kleeman and LT Dave Venlet and LTs Larry Muczynski and Jim Anderson (VF-41), shot down a pair of Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 Fitters. The Libyans threatened Nimitz during a tense encounter in the Gulf of Sidra, and the Tomcat crews splashed them with AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
6-29 Oct 1981: Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorists assassinated Egyptian President Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat on the 6th, forcing Nimitz to cut short an intended four day visit to Venice, Italy. Nimitz proceeded to the eastern Mediterranean, where she remained for 17 days to respond to the ongoing crisis, before returning to Naples.
17 Nov 1981: Scout 706, an S-3A, flew into the water just aft of Nimitz, about 70 miles northwest of Sicily . CDR Phillip L. Reed, the squadron CO, LT Douglas C. Deem, LT(JG) Carey A. Arthur and AW3 Charles Wade (Air Anti-Submarine Squadron (VS)-24), died in the crash.
16-17 Jan 1982: Nimitz sailed at high speed to Tangier, Morocco, where she turned over to Dwight D. Eisenhower and accomplished a cross deck of staffs from RADM James E. Service, Commander, Battle Force, Sixth Fleet, to Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 12. Both carrier battle groups then participated with the John F. Kennedy group in multi-threat exercise National Week XXXI, with Nimitz taking the role of the Orange forces and attacking the other carriers.
3-6 February 1982: Nimitz and her escorts, guided missile cruisers Mississippi (CGN-40) and Texas endured a severe storm with 27 foot seas/swells while crossing the Atlantic westbound. The carrier weathered the tempest without significant damage.
5 Apr24 Jun 1982: Nimitz completed SRA-82 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
18 Oct 1982: His Majesty, King Olav V of Norway, visited Nimitz at NS Norfolk.
4 Nov 1982: Brazilian Chief of Naval Operations ADM Jose G.T.A. de Aratanka visited the ship.
10 Nov 1982: Deploying to the Mediterranean Nimitz first sailed southward, where she stood off Honduran, Columbian and Venezuelan waters before coming about to eastward.
30 Nov 1982: Nimitz transited the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean.
6 Dec 1982: Nimitz conducted a cross deck with aircraft carrier Independence (CV-62) off Lebanon.
1982-83: Nimitz aircrew flew over 50% of the approximately 24,000 flight hours recorded during her deployment to the Mediterranean in support of the Multi-National Force operating in Lebanon.
3 Dec 1982: In company with guided missile cruisers Arkansas (CGN-41) and Mississippi, Nimitz received a Mayday distress call from Greek cargo vessel Andalusia (call sign SZKH and registered out of Piraeus) during the mid watch with Andalusia only 31 nautical miles away. Flagship Nimitz ordered Mississippi to proceed to the stricken vessel and render assistance. A Lockheed P-3C Orion (Crew 11, VP-49) vectored rescuers to the scene. Reaching Andalusia within an hour at 0113, the cruiser spotted the survivors floating in three boats they had tied together as their ship foundered, her decks almost awash. Despite delays distinguishing the ship and her condition due to the darkness (Mississippi s crew initially identified her as San Lucia), the men of the cruiser gallantly carried on in two motor whaleboats and rescued all 19 crewmembers. Sailors from Mississippi inspected the wounded vessel, but found her beyond help, doomed by the excessive flooding. Consequently, Andalusia sank 1,200 yards off the cruisers port bow at 0824, 36º01N, 012º192E. Two Sea Kings, AJ615, an SH-3H, LT Michael G. Mulcahy, LT(JG) Randall K. Ewald, AW2 Robert S. Chronister and AWAN Henry J. Miller, and AJ617, an SH-3G (BuNo 149000), LCDR David B. Small, Jr., LCDR Larry W. Zimmer, AW2 Richard M. Lane and AWAN Allen L. Estel (HS-9), launched from Nimitz to assist and transferred survivors from Mississippi to the carrier.
26 Jan 1983: Nimitz's starboard motor whaleboat crew participated in the rescue of a downed aircraft and crew in the Mediterranean .
18-26 Mar 1983: Ongoing fighting in Chad and Sudan between separatists and Libyan invaders combined with Libyan threats against the Egyptians exacerbated a crisis in Equatorial and North Africa. Nimitz, in the central Mediterranean, cooperated with aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65), which sped to the region from off Lebanon to the waters north of Libya to be available for possible operations should the situation worsen. Libyan strongman COL Muammar al-Qadhafi vowed to turn the Gulf of Sidra into a red gulf of blood if the ships should enter the area claimed by his nation. Undaunted, Nimitz's aircraft flew within the Tripoli Flight Information Region, the ship herself closing to within 85 miles of the Libyan coast.
20 Mar 1983: Lebanon's President Amin Gemayal visited Nimitz.
42-7 Apr 1983: Nimitz participated in exercise National Week, operating as the centerpiece of Blue forces against Orange flagship aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70). An observer noted that Nimitz proved able to elude and totally decimate her adversaries.
10 May 1983: Nimitz outchopped from the Mediterranean , turning over to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
17 Jun 1983-22 Jul 1984: Nimitz completed COH 83, a complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, the first such refit for a Nimitz-class ship. The ship remained drydocked at Shipway 11 from 17 June3 December, after which she was towed to the companys Pier 2, remaining there until 23 July 1984. The crew lived on board General William O. Darby (IX-510) from 22 July 198320 June 1984. The Navy attempted to provide for the crew and their dependents during the difficult overhaul, and christened a 220 foot barge Nimitz Park, positioned alongside General William O. Darby from 3 October 1983. Nimitz Park boasted eight laser sailboats, a picnic area and a fishing facility.
1-30 Apr 1984: America provided a team to assist Nimitzs crew with their overhaul.
23-26 July 1984: Nimitz conducted post-overhaul contractors sea trials.
11-17 Sep 1984: Thanks to timely warnings from her meteorological team Nimitz emergency sortied to avoid Hurricane Diana. The ship evaded the storm and began Navy sea trials in the bargain.
27-28 Sep 1984: Nimitz conducted shakedown training in the Cuban Operating Area.
30 Sep 1984: The ship accomplished her first McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Mode I Automatic Carrier Landing System certification.
1 Nov 1984: CAPT Eugene D. Conner, the ships CO, and CDR Daniel L. Rainey, Jr., Commander Air Group (CAG) CVW-8, completed Nimitzs 100,000th trap, in an S-3A.
29-30 Nov 1984: U.S. chartered oceanographic research ship Seaward Explorer, en route from Haiti to Miami , Fla. , broke down off Cuba . Coast Guard cutter Reliance (WMEC-615), the nearest ship, came about toward the disabled vessel, however, before she could reach Seaward Explorer the latter drifted within the Cuban 12-mile territorial limit. The Cubans notified the State Department that although they would not permit Reliance within their waters, one of their patrol boats would tow the derelict into international waters. In the interim, certain naval assets, among them Nimitz and Arkansas, both visiting Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, V.I., received orders to increase readiness as prudent precautions. They emergency sortied at approximately 1430 on the 30th, stranding many crewmembers ashore in the ships hasty departure, and Arkansas picked up stragglers from Nimitz. As the Cuban vessel towed Seaward Explorer a fire erupted on board the research ship, releasing the towing hawser, which became fouled in the patrol boats screws. Reliance rushed in and quickly extinguished the flames, taking Seaward Explorer in tow to Miami . Released from their sortie at about 1800, Nimitz and Arkansas returned to St. Thomas for their stranded crews.
34 Dec 1984: Lee [L.A.] Laccoca, Chairman of the Chrysler Corporation, visited Nimitz.
10-11 Mar 1985: Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman and Deputy Secretary of Defense William H. Taft, IV, visited Nimitz.
15-27 Mar 1985: Nimitz completed Readiness Exercise 1-85 followed by an operational readiness evaluation, in the Caribbean
28 Mar-12 Apr 1985: Due to heightened tensions resulting from fighting against Marxist rebels in Central America, Nimitz steamed off the eastern coast of that isthmus for U.S. Naval Presence Operations.
21-23 Apr 1985: Nimitz anchored in Augusta Bay, Sicily, to turn over to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
6-17 May 1985: Nimitz participated in Operation Distant Hammer, a multi-national exercise with USAF, French, Italian and Turkish forces in the Mediterranean.
30 May-13 Jun 1985: A four man film crew from Grumman Corp. produced a movie documenting carrier battle group operations on board.
14 Jun 1985: Two Lebanese Shia Muslim gunmen hijacked TWA Flight No. 847, a Boeing 727 carrying 153 people including Americans, en route from Athens, Greece, to Rome, Italy. The hijackers forced the crew to fly back and forth between Beirut, Lebanon, and Algiers, Algeria, terrorizing the hostages with threats. The thugs brutally beat and murdered passenger SW2 Robert D. Stethem, Navy Underwater Construction Team No. 1, a diver from Waldorf, Md., callously dumping his body onto the tarmac at Beirut International Airport. Stethem was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for courageously defying the terrorists during his ordeal, and the Navy commissioned guided missile destroyer Stethem (DDG-63) in his honor, on 21 October 1995. Nimitz cancelled a visit to Livorno, Italy, and steamed at flank speed to the eastern Mediterranean, where she operated off the Lebanese coast. Her presence played a key role in the release of the hostages on 30 June-1 July. The crew held a flight deck picnic with two cans of beer per man as they passed their 68th day at sea, after which the carrier came about on the 1st of August and made for Egyptian waters.
4-9 Aug 1985: Nimitz participated in Operation Bright Star 85, a huge exercise with USAF, Army, Marine, Egyptian, Jordanian, Omani and Somali forces.
29 Aug 1985: Secretary of the Navy Lehman announced the transfer of Nimitzs home port to the Puget Sound Region, Everett , Wash. Also selected to accompany her to Everett were up to 15 ships, including two cruisers, four destroyers and four frigates.
10-21 Sep 1985: Nimitz turned over to Saratoga at Augusta Bay preparatory to returning home but the ongoing crisis in the Middle East in the wake of terrorists kidnapping several Americans in Beirut, forced her to divert and race to Beno Station, as her crew humorously dubbed the ships operating area in the eastern Mediterranean , for contingency operations.
15 Sep 1985: While working on the flight deck, ABHAN Adam K. Marks, Crash and Salvage Division V-1, fell overboard off the port side when his tractor rolled off the deck into the catwalk, at 0016, 33º563N, 033º397E. Helo No. 612, an SH-3H (HS-9), rescued Marks, who suffered minor injuries but otherwise recovered quickly after his harrowing experience, within the hour.
1 Nov 1985-3 Mar 1986: Nimitz transited the Elizabeth River to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for SRA-86.
4-7 Mar 1986: Nimitz conducted sea trials.
16 May 1986: CVW-8 returned to Nimitz for the first time in seven months.
15 Aug-16 Oct 1986: Nimitz participated in NATO exercises Northern Engagement 86 and Northern Wedding 86 in the North Atlantic, both designed to test NATOs ability and resolve to defend northern Europe against an East Bloc attack. Ships in company included battleship Iowa (BB-61), amphibious command ship Mount Whitney (LCC-20), South Carolina, guided missile destroyers Kidd (DDG-993) and Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23), destroyer Thorn (DD-988), guided missile frigate Doyle (FFG-39), frigates W.S. Sims (FF-1059), Moinester (FF-1097) and Truett (FF-1095), replenishment oiler Kalamazoo (AOR-6) and ammunition ship Nitro (AE-23).
27 Aug 1986: Nimitz crossed the Arctic Circle at 2138, 66º33N, 24º143W.
30 Aug-4 Sep 1986: Nimitz completed the first of two extremely demanding safety challenges for her navigational team during this deployment by sailing in the constricted waters of Vestfjord, Norway, where she conducted anti-submarine, anti-air and anti-surface operations, as well as covered several amphibious landings. VADM Charles R. Larson relieved VADM Henry C. Mustin, Commander, Second Fleet, on board on the 2nd. Secretary of the Navy Lehman was the principal speaker.
4 Sep 1986: An A-7E Corsair II crashed in the Norwegian Sea . Despite an intensive search the crew could not recover the pilot.
27 Sep 1986: Nimitz conducted her second abnormally dangerous navigational detail of the deployment as she transited the English Channel (with its high volume of shipping) en route from Wilhelmshaven, West Germany, to Brest, France.
19-25 Jan 1987: Nimitz participated in dual exercise National Week 87A with John F. Kennedy in the Mediterranean. Ranger 12, a Douglas EA-3B Skywarrior (BuNo 144850) from Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ)-2, crashed while landing on board Nimitz in the Ionian Sea, at 2328 on the 25th. The Whales front wheel caught the barricade net and the aircraft skidded across the flight deck, going over the edge and breaking apart as it struck the water. LCDR Ronald R. Callander, LT Stephen H. Batchelder, LT Alan A. Levine, LT James D. Richards and AT2 Richard A. Herzing (all VQ-2), and CTI3 Patrick R. Price and CTI3 Craig H. Rudolf (both from Naval Security Group Activity Athens, Greece) all died in the mishap.
24 Feb 1987: An A-7E (VA-82) crashed while launching, but the pilot ejected safely and the crew recovered him.
3-15 May 1987: Nimitz participated in NATO exercise Dragon Hammer, which enhanced the combat effectiveness, readiness, coordination and interoperability of allied sea, amphibious and air forces.
20-21 May 1987: Following an extended deployment, Nimitz came about from the Mediterranean. Anchoring at Augusta Bay she turned over to Kitty Hawk, which subsequently entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Penn., for a three year overhaul, replacing the latter in the Pacific Fleet. Passing westward through the Strait of Gibraltar, Nimitz sailed round Cape Horn, making her way up the Pacific coast of South America.
29 May 1987: Nimitz crossed the equator, en route from Augusta Bay to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, at 1109, 32º10W.
11-15 Jun 1987: Helo crews (HS-9) tested their mettle against their Brazilian counterparts in TopEx 1-87, delivering over 20 valid attacks against a pair of Oberon-class submarines.
18 Jun 1987: The warship rounded the Cape of Good Horn.
12 Jul 1987: Nimitz arrived in Puget Sound, Wash., anchoring overnight outside of Rich Passage before mooring the next day at Pier B, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) Bremerton to complete her home port shift.
21 Aug 1987-8 Feb 1988: The ship conducted SRA-87.
12-14 Feb 1988: Nimitz returned to North Island.
3 Mar 1988: The Duke and Duchess of York [Prince Andrew, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh, and Sarah M. M-W., née Ferguson, The Princess Andrew, Countess of Inverness and Baroness Killyleagh] visited Nimitz at North Island.
4 Mar 1988: GEN Aviau Ben-Nun, Commander, Israeli Air Force, and Canadian RADM Robert E. George, Commander, Maritime Pacific, visited the ship (two different visits).
67 Mar 1988: Nimitz participated in exercise CNO Project 0779 Support on Nanoose Range, British Columbia, Canada, the first U.S. carrier to use the range in 22 years.
8 Mar-17 Apr 1988: Nimitz completed upkeep at PSNS.
28 Apr 1988: CDR John B. Nathman relieved CDR John S. Payne as the ships executive officer. (Nathman would go on to command the ship, her battle group, Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, Naval Air Forces and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs, before becoming the 33rd Vice Chief of Naval Operations and then Commander, Fleet Forces Command).
28 May-10 Jun 1988: Nimitz returned to PSNS for additional upkeep.
2 Aug-1 Sep 1988: The ship accomplished deployment preparation at PSNS.
5-13 Sep 1988: Soviet aircraft (apparently) failed to detect Nimitz as she conducted a high speed deceptive transit at a speed of advance of 22 knots across the Pacific to the Tsugaru Strait (in Japanese waters).
13 Sep-2 Oct 1988: Nimitz sailed off the Korean Peninsula to provide security for the XXIV Olympiad [Olympic Games] at Seoul, South Korea.
26-28 Oct 1988: Nimitz conducted PASSEX evolutions with Malaysian and Thai forces in the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea, respectively, before relieving Carl Vinson and Battle Group Charlie. Aircrew conducted dissimilar air combat training, low level passes and patrol boat events with their Malaysian and Thai counterparts.
29 Oct 1988: Nimitz entered the northern Arabian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz, beginning her participation under the leadership of RADM Anthony A. Less, Commander, Joint Task Force Middle East, in Operation Earnest Will. Ongoing Iranian and Iraqi attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf during the Tanker War between those two countries became so commonplace that the Kuwaitis requested U.S. assistance. American forces escorted 11 renamed and reflagged [registered] Kuwaiti tankers during Earnest Will, which was designed to maintain freedom of navigation within the Gulf.
8-9 Nov 1988: VADM John H. Fetterman, Jr., Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, visited the ship.
30 Nov 1988: A 20 mm gun mounted on an A-7E fired during a troubleshooting maintenance check and hit a KA-6D tanker, setting it afire, while the ship steamed in the northern Arabian Sea , at about 0250. AMH2 Douglas S. Dimberg from Redfield, S.C., died, and AA Chadwick R. Henderson (VA-147), Rockford, Ill., received injuries. The fire damaged eight aircraft: five Corsair IIs, an Intruder, and a Viking, and the crew jettisoned the KA-6D off the flight deck as unsalvageable. The men battled the ship-threatening conflagration for 20 tense minutes, though they controlled the flames in the first eight.
4 Dec 1988: Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci visited Nimitz.
12-15 Dec 1988: Nimitz, guided missile destroyer Waddell (DDG-24) and frigate Barbey (FF-1088) conducted a PASSEX with the Omanis. The exercise included air to air refueling, ship tactical maneuvering, anti-air warfare, splash target bombing, gunnery, and a War at Sea scenario, near Wudam Naval Base, Oman .
19-21 Dec 1988: The ship participated in Beacon Flash and Al Barq Al Lamaa 39, a pair of exercises with the Omanis, which included dissimilar air combat training against Omani Hawker Siddeley Hunters and Sepecat Jaguars, and low level passes, electronic warfare and opposed strikes in the vicinity of Thumrait Airfield , Oman .
26-30 Dec 1988: Nimitz sailed eastbound through the Strait of Malacca .
31 Dec 1988-6 Jan 1989: Nimitz anchored at Singapore , affording her crew their first port of call after 71 punishing days at sea.
6-16 Jan 1989: Nimitz sailed westerly courses through the Strait of Malacca into the Indian Ocean for exercise Weapons Week in the vicinity of Diego Garcia at the British Indian Ocean Territory [Chagos Archipelago]. She crossed the equator on the 9th.
17 Jan 1989: Nimitz turned over with aircraft carrier Constellation (CV-64) and Battle Group 70.4, and came about for home.
21-23 Jan 1989: Nimitz conducted a PASSEX with Thai forces in the Gulf of Siam .
29-30 Jan 1989: VADM Henry H. Mauz, Jr., Commander, Seventh Fleet, hosted 12 leaders of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army [Navy] on board for a visit.
21-26 Feb 1989: The ship operated with French forces during a PASSEX. VADM Fetterman again visited Nimitz.
2 Mar 1989: Nimitz moored at Pier B PSNS, assuming duties as the Ready Carrier for the Third Fleet from 19 March-16 May.
13 May-14 Jun 1989: The carrier completed upkeep at Puget Sound.
15 Jun-1 Jul 1989: Nimitz participated in joint exercise NorPac 89-1 with the USAF in the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska.
29 Jul-4 Aug 1989: Nimitz performed additional upkeep at PSNS, commencing preparations for DSRA-90 (a docking SRA) on 4 August.
19 Aug 1989-3 Mar 1990: Nimitz completed DSRA-90 in Drydock No. 6 at PSNS. During the overhaul some of her crew berthed in former transport (T-AP-121) General Hugh J. Gaffey (IX-507). The yardworkers began flooding the drydock on 1 March, and the rising water lifted the ship off her blocks at about 0900 on the 3rd. Three tugs and a tractor tug took her under tow deadstick (without her own power) to Pier 3.
11-19 May 1990: Nimitz got underway for the first time since beginning DSRA-90, for sea trials. During the following year, the ship completed a training readiness evaluation, weapons onload, carrier qualifications for CVW-9, CVWR-30, and fleet replacement squadrons and battle group workups. Nimitz operated at various times from Bremerton (17 May, 31 August29 October and 17 December3 January 1991), NAS Alameda, Calif. (24 June and 12 November) and North Island (1012 November).
2 Jul 1990: While mooring to the Ammunition Pier at Naval Magazine (Port Hadlock Weapons Detachment) Indian Island, Wash., No. 2 main engine surged aft, causing tight line conditions on lines 4, 7, 8 and 10. The crew responded to the dangerous situation and saved the ship from damage. BM3 McCallister, however, suffered a broken arm during the mishap and had to be evacuated to the Naval Hospital at Bremerton.
10-12 Nov 1990: Nimitz received orders to prepare for possible early deployment to Operation Desert Storm, the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi oppression (the Iraqis had invaded and occupied the country beginning on 2 August 1990). The crew loaded stores and provisions during a backbreaking 48-hour evolution.
15 Nov 1990: Spanish LCDR Cristóbal Colón, the 20th descendent of renowned explorer Christopher Columbus, visited the ship.
25 Feb 1991: Nimitz departed from Bremerton for a scheduled three weeks of training, putting in to North Island on the 28th.
5 Mar 1991: Due to Gulf War I, however, she received orders to deploy early and came about for the Western Pacific. The E-2C + made its maiden deployment on board Nimitz during this cruise. Foul weather pounded the ship during the first few days, causing pitching deck conditions that rendered flight operations extremely hazardous.
6 Mar 1991: Aggression is defeated. The war is over, reported President George W. Bush to a joint session of the Congress. The news caused relief for many men on board, though speculation ran through Nimitz regarding her potential operations. The crew nonetheless prepared diligently for possible contingencies while en route to the Western Pacific.
17 Mar 1991: Nimitz entered the Seventh Fleets area of responsibility.
48 Apr 1991: Nimitz anchored at Singapore, following which she entered the Indian Ocean for operations through the 15th.
16 Apr 1991: Nimitz entered Central Commands area of responsibility.
18-19 Apr 1991: Nimitz sailed through the Strait of Hormuz, entered the Arabian Gulf and overnight relieved aircraft carrier Ranger (CV-61) during Operations Desert Storm/Sabre.
20 Apr 1991: Nimitz commenced flight operations in support of Operations Desert Storm/Sabre. CVW-9 flew primarily air superiority and combat air patrol missions over Iraq , which lay ravaged and burning following the Iraqi retreat. The ship assumed the role of Commander, Task Force 154, with Nimitz's Carrier Battle Group Bravo being the only remaining such group in the Gulf. Fires produced by burning oil fields created a haze that normally dropped visibility down to below five miles, generating additional dangers for air operations. Confronted with the threat of chemical and biological weapons, men trained by donning protective exposure suits and gas masks, demonstrating a macabre and surrealistic appearance to onlookers. Aircrew flew a daily average of 75 sorties for upward of 20 days per month, a demanding schedule on men and machines. Hornet aircrew flew exhausting five hour missions usually requiring two aerial refuelings from USAF Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. Combat commanders of all services relied especially on Tactical Air Reconnaissance System (TARPS) equipped Tomcats to provide accurate real time intelligence on Iraqi troop movements. Aircrew often flew these missions at lower altitudes and speeds to improve accuracy, though this made them more vulnerable to ground fire and surface to air missiles. Nimitz launched a total of 31 TARPS missions between 22 April24 May. Two helo crews flew daily sweeps of Nimitzs operating box (her area of operations) searching for floating mines, which posed a deadly risk to the carrier and forced the crew to secure all hatches on the 2nd deck and below. Two HH-60H crews (HS-2) flew strike rescue missions in the event that the Iraqis shot down fixed wing aircrew. Also during this period a number of Iraqi revolts erupted against the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, beginning in late February when the Shiites, who lived primarily in the south, rose, followed by a Kurdish uprising in Kurdistan to the north. The shaken Iraqi regime brutally suppressed the revolts, and Iraqi security forces and troops ruthlessly crushed the Kurds. Almost a million Kurdish refugees fled in late March and into April to escape the atrocities, and the U.S. responded with Operation Provide Comfort: international humanitarian relief efforts for the victims of Saddams crimes. Aircrew from the ship flew a variety of missions supporting Provide Comfort, including airborne early warning to monitor refugee movements and Iraqi attacks against people, as well as protecting crews, including Marines and SEALs, assisting victims by delivering supplies by air and on the ground and by evacuating Kurds requiring medical attention.
24 Apr 1991: An SH-60F crew (HS-2) spotted a mine 30 nautical miles south of Nimitz but drifting toward her and destroyed it with the assistance of the ships explosive ordnance disposal team.
27 Apr 1991: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA)-147 sent a detachment of three Hornets, four officers and 26 enlisted sailors to Al Dhafra AB in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they participated in the first air combat training exercise between the ship and the UAE. VFA-147 gained the opportunity to pit their skills against Dassault Mirage 2000s.
7-9 May 1991: Nimitz anchored at Dubai, UAE.
13 May 1991: While the Allied Joint Command prohibited further Hornet overflights over Iraq, F/A-18s continued to fly combat air patrols over Kuwait and the Gulf.
21-22 May 1991: Two Iranian speedboats manned by the Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Engelab-e Eslami [Revolutionary Guard Corps, usually known simply as the Pasdaran], a volatile mix of lawless elements and militant students, attacked command ship La Salle (AGF-3), flagship of the Middle East Force, as she steamed in the central Arabian Gulf, from 20240021. La Salle s crew fought back fiercely, firing 178 .50 caliber machine gun rounds from the port side of the bridge and keeping the Iranians at a range varying between 3,0005,000 yards. The command ship radioed Nimitz, steaming approximately 300 nautical miles to the northwest, for assistance. The carrier responded by scrambling a pair of ready Hornets within 20 minutes. The F/A-18s streaked to the area to intercept the Iranians, but the Pasdaran came about and fled. Following this episode the ship and her crew treated all Iranian vessels with extreme caution as contacts of interest, observing them carefully for threatening intentions.
25-29 May 1991: Nimitz anchored at Dubai.
30 May-7 Jun 1991: Nimitz sailed through the Strait of Hormuz eastbound to participate in exercise Beacon Flash 91 with the Omanis, before returning to the Gulf for additional operations against the Iraqis.
7 Jun 1991: SN Mark Esparza, the aft lookout, spotted a blue light in the water, signifying a probable man overboard, near the end of the mid watch at 0356. The ship called away man overboard and lowered her port motor whaleboat, commanded by LT(JG) G. Paul Skentzos, whose crew recovered AM3 Donald A. Ochab of VF-211, who fell overboard while working on a Tomcat. When I walked back, Ochab quipped of his brush with death, I ran out of deck. Skentzos and Esparza each received the Navy Achievement Medal for their quick actions.
Jul 1991: While performing maintenance on arresting gear constant run-out valves, the Sailors of the ships V-2 Division discovered excessive wear on the camhousing and stanchion body bolts. Subsequent modifications to all of the Navy's carriers avoided future accidents and probably saved lives.
12 Jul 1991: By this date aircrew flew 934 sorties over Iraq , Kuwait and the Gulf. During a combat air patrol mission over Kuwait, however, an F/A-18C (VFA-146), sustained probe damage and experienced airspeed problems while tanking with a Stratotanker. Upon his return to the carrier at 2200 the pilot slammed into the ramp but miraculously caught the No. 3 arrester wire while in full afterburner. The man ejected, landing on the flight deck with minor abrasions. The crew began applying foam to the fire within 23 seconds, though the crash destroyed the aircraft. ABH2 James A. Gilley, a member of V-1s Crash and Salvage Crew, courageously entered the Hornets cockpit and secured the engines, which remained in full afterburner. Gilley later received the Navy Achievement Medal for his heroic action during the blaze.
16 Jul 1991: Nimitz turned over to aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).
12-17 Oct 1991: Nimitz participated in Fleet Week 91 in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay area of California, leading a 17-ship formation into the bay during dangerous near 0 visibility conditions (the navigation team could only see the stanchions as they passed under the Golden Gate Bridge) on the 17th.
19 Oct 1991-29 May 1992: Nimitz underwent an SRA at PSNS.
9 Jan 1992: Former Soviet CAPT Alexander Zuyev visited the ship. On 20 May 1989, Zuyev gained fame when he defected from the Soviet Union with his MiG-29 Fulcrum, flying a daring low and fast escape to the Turkish airport at Trabzon.
Dec 1992: Continual wear on equipment during flight operations caused a potentially catastrophic problem when alert flight deck Sailors noticed an abnormal grinding sound from an arresting gear engine during a landing. Immediately fouling the deck they took the engine offline to discover several large metal shavings and severe scoring of the engines crosshead sheaves, thus avoiding a major accident.
11 Feb 1993: Nimitz rendezvoused with her battle group in the Pacific, chopping to the Seventh Fleet eight days later.
5 Mar 1993: The ship conducted a PASSEX with the Malaysians and Singaporeans.
11-12 Mar 1993: Nimitz sailed through the Strait of Malacca and entered the Indian Ocean, conducting another PASSEX with the Malaysians en route.
18 Mar 1993: Nimitz entered the Naval Forces Central Commands area of responsibility and relieved Kitty Hawk.
21 Mar 1993: Nimitz transited the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Arabian Gulf, beginning her participation in Operation Southern Watch. The UN established a no-fly zone along the 32nd parallel after the Iraqis renewed attacks against Shiites, and the coalition began patrolling the zone. While deployed in the Gulf the ship's Sailors also made on-site repairs to P-3 Orions and USAF Lockheed C-141 Starlifters and to six ships. Additionally, when appraised of a USAF need to replace 12 defective AGM-88 High Speed Antiradiation Missiles, Nimitz rushed them out to enable the crews to continue missions over Iraq . Nimitz also visited Mina Jebel Ali in the UAE three times during this cruise (1014 April, 812 May and 611 June).
22 Mar 1993: VADM Douglas J. Katz, Commander, Naval Forces Central Command, visited the ship.
5 May 1993: The crew celebrated their half way point in the deployment and the famous Mexican holiday with a combined Cinco de Mayo picnic on the aft mess decks.
18 Jun 1993: Nimitz sailed outbound through the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Sea .
28 Jun 1993: The ship passed through the Strait of Malacca eastbound.
29 Jun 1993: Nimitz crossed the equator.
11 Jul 1993: Nimitz turned over to Abraham Lincoln.
7 Dec 1993-28 Jan 1995: Nimitz conducted an extended drydocking SRA at PSNS.
7-12 Dec 1993: Following carrier qualifications for fleet replenishment squadron aircrew, Nimitz sailed from North Island to PSNS to prepare for drydocking. A fierce storm encountered en route, however, forced her to change course to outrun heavy seas.
29 Jan-20 Aug 1994: Nimitz entered drydock at PSNS. Ex-submarine tender Proteus (AS-19) became her berthing, messing and office barge. As Nimitz was the first ship to use Proteus in this fashion, the latter required extensive conversion work to make her habitable. In the interim, the crew berthed in a barge, at Submarine Base Bangor, ashore at PSNS and at contract hotels.
20 Jul 1994: ADM Jeremy M. Boorda, Chief of Naval Operations, visited the ship.
20-21 Aug 1994: Following the flooding of the dock she moored to Pier B at PSNS.
20 Jan 1995: ABE2 Daniel Avila died while working on arresting gear machinery on board. The crew held a memorial service for their shipmate on the 23rd.
28 Jan-2 Feb 1995: Nimitz conducted sea trials.
23 Apr 1995: A team from the Cable News Network (CNN) visited Nimitz to film a CNN Newsroom special concerning life on board an aircraft carrier.
6-15 Sep 1995: Nimitz participated in two training evolutions, FleetEx 95-2A and MissilEx 95-2, the later from the 13th15th, in the Southern California Operations Area. Also during this period, the ships Marine security detachment trained ashore at San Clemente Island off the California coast and practiced non-permissive boardings (where crews may be suspected of illicit activities and resist), including one of oiler Walter S. Diehl (T-AO-193).
25 Sep-6 Oct 1995: Nimitz participated in exercise JTFEx 95-3 off southern California.
27-29 Nov 1995: During her deployment Nimitz first sailed south to North Island to embark CVW-9, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23 and RADM Lyle G. Bien, Commander, Carrier Group 7 and then proceeded into the Western Pacific, operating in the South China Sea before Christmas. Guided missile cruiser Port Royal (CG-73), guided missile destroyer Callaghan (DDG-994), destroyer Oldendorf (DD-972), guided missile frigate Ford (FFG-54), submarines Birmingham (SSN-695) and Portsmouth (SSN-707), oiler Willamette (AO-180) and ammunition ship Shasta (AE-33) deployed with the battle group. At various times Nimitz's Sailors performed critical repairs to equipment on board Port Royal, Callaghan and Portsmouth. Aircrew flew an average of 1,433 sorties per month during this deployment.
4-5 Jan 1996: Nimitz transited the Strait of Malacca and entered the Indian Ocean.
11 Jan 1996: The ship entered the Fifth Fleets area of the responsibility assigned to Task Force 50.
13-17 Jan 1996: Nimitz participated in Inspired Alert, an exercise with the Pakistanis.
19 Jan 1996: Nimitz sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Arabian Gulf .
22 Jan-12 Mar 1996: Nimitz participated in Operation Southern Watch.
Feb 1996: Half of the ships Marine security detachment deployed ashore in Kuwait under the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit for a combined arms exercise.
20-21 Feb 1996: RADM Michael R. Scott, Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia, embarked on board.
22 Feb 1996: Renegade 205, an F-14A (BuNo 159867) from VF-24, LCDR Roger A. Pyle and LT Thomas A. Eberhard, crashed at sea in the Gulf during a maintenance profile. Rescuers had both men back on board within the hour.
14-15 Mar 1996: During this period a crisis erupted from ongoing friction between the Chinese and Taiwanese over the continuation of Taiwan s independence from the mainland. Both countries deployed additional forces to the Taiwan Strait littoral, and the Chinese conducted what the Taiwanese called provocative exercises involving jets, warships and at least three surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, which landed in Taiwanese waters in a dangerous escalation. Nimitz came about and steamed through the Strait of Hormuz outbound, entering the Seventh Fleets area of responsibility the next day assigned to Task Group 070.2. Nimitz rushed eastward to signal U.S. support for the Taiwanese elections and that peoples self-determination. During her voyage the ships orders changed three times, challenging the crew to ensure that they arrived in time.
21 Mar 1996: The ship transited the Strait of Malacca eastbound.
24-28 Mar 1996: Nimitz relieved Independence off eastern Taiwan. Independence operated from what her sailors referred to as Wonton Station from the 11th24th. Not to be outdone Nimitz's Sailors mischievously referred to their operating area as Kung Pao Station. Nonetheless, they stood their watches during a frightening situation as tensions rose between Beijing , Taipei and Washington. Chinese Premier Lĭ Péng warned the U.S. not to make a show of force by sending Nimitz into the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese, responded Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, are a great military power, the premierthe strongestmilitary power in the Western Pacific is the United States .
29 Mar-12 Apr 1996: Diplomatic measures began to diffuse the Chinese crisis and Nimitz came about, transiting the Luzon Strait to operate in the Philippine Sea .
14 Apr 1996: The carrier returned to the South China Sea via the Luzon Strait.
28 Apr 1996: After steaming in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, Nimitz came about for home, transiting the Luzon Strait eastward.
16-20 May 1996: After first returning to North Island, the ship steamed to PSNS.
Jun 1996-21 Jan 1997: Following their one month standdown the crew performed an $84 million ESRA at PSNS. In addition to upgrading numerous systems and habitability concerns, the crew replaced all .38 and 45 caliber pistols utilized for security with Beretta 9 mm models.
15 Aug 1996: VADM Brent M. Bennitt, Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific, toured Nimitz to determine the progress in her overhaul.
8 Jan 1997: Bennitt again toured Nimitz to inspect her readiness for sea.
22-26 Jan 1997: Nimitz conducted sea trials in the northeastern Pacific, also onloading ammunition at Port Hadlock.
Apr 1997: The crew installed the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System and the Video Information Exchange System, which provided real-time exchange of intelligence information, and upgraded Battle Group Electronic Mail (E-Mail) and Battle Group Maritime Cellular capabilities.
26 May 1997: CDR Terry W. Cook, ships chaplain, conducted a Memorial Day service on board Missouri for WWII veterans, at PSNS.
23 Jun-3 Jul 1997: Nimitz participated in FleetEx 97-2 off southern California.
14-24 Jul 1997: Nimitz participated in JTFEx 97-2 and a Revolution in Strike Warfare demonstration off southern California . The latter demonstrated a carriers ability to maximize air power in a littoral warfare scenario, and the wing flew a demanding 1,023 sorties in 100 continuous hours of flight operations.
25 Jul 1997: Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor visited the ship at North Island.
5 Aug 1997: ADM Archie R. Clemins, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, and RADM Donald A. Weiss, Commander, Carrier Group 3, visited Nimitz.
Sep 1997: The crew configured Contingency Theater Automated Planning System workstations with Joint Task Force, Southwest Asia to provide Air Tasking Order exchange in support of Operation Southern Watch.
1 Sep 1997-1 Mar 1998: Nimitz completed a global circumnavigation as she shifted her home port from PSNS to Newport News, Va. CVW-9 aircrew flew an average of 1,658 sorties per month in 76 aircraft of ten different models during this deployment, and made the first operational deployment of the AGM-154A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW). At one point, the Air Department gathered on the flight deck to spell out Bullet, CAPT Richardsons (the COs) call sign.
6 Sep 1997: VADM Bennitt embarked.
11 Sep 1997: Port Royal rendezvoused with the group north of the Hawaiian Islands , completing the battle group as it sailed westward into the Pacific.
11-13 Sep 1997: Nimitz participated in ASWEx 97-5, an anti-submarine exercise with submarine Hawkbill (SSN-666) north of the Hawaiian Islands .
13-18 Sep 1997: While proceeding into the Western Pacific Nimitz changed course to avoid Typhoon David, which reached its peak of 95 knots on the 14th, tracking in a steadily northwesterly direction that brought the typhoon dangerously close to the carriers journey. David's large size gave the crew some tense moments before they outran the fierce seas, which impacted people as far away as Japan before turning northeastward toward the Gulf of Alaska , where it transitioned to an extra tropical low. To compound matters the Pacific Fleet also tasked the crew with locating and tracking an elusive Russian Oscar II (Antyey [Type 949A]) class-guided missile submarine. The Navy detected the Russians loitering off the Washington coast to track carrier movements, first shadowing Constellation during a visit to Seattle on 26 September, and then Nimitz. Its not a regular practice, noted Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, but its not unprecedented either, referring to the consternation the Oscar II raised among the media before the battle group observed her returning to Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula on 1 November.
19 Sep 1997: Two Russian Tu-142Fs conducted maritime surveillance of the battle group east of Japan, however, Nimitzs combat air patrol intercepted and escorted the Bears.
21 Sep 1997: VADM Robert J. Natter, Commander, Seventh Fleet, visited Nimitz.
23-25 Sep 1997: Nimitz and Independence participated in Valiant Blitz off Okinawa.
26 Sep-3 Oct 1997: Tensions rose between the Iraqis and the UN over weapons inspections of the Iraqi arsenal, Iraqi aircrew violations of the southern No Fly Zone and Iranian air attacks into southern Iraq. During one of his tirades, Hussein threatened to shoot down U.S. Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft monitoring Iraqi non-compliance with UN sanctions. The crisis forced Nimitz to depart Hong Kong and make for Singapore, where her crew anticipated a short visit. The Navy cancelled the ships stay at that port, however, and ordered her to continue at speed into the Indian Ocean. Nimitz transited the Strait of Malacca eastbound during poor visibility.
9 Oct 1997: Nimitz entered the Fifth Fleets area of responsibility.
13 Oct 1997: The ship entered the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, completing a 6,000 mile voyage 12 days earlier than originally scheduled. Nimitz steamed at sea for 55 days altogether before Washington allowed her to visit Jebel Ali from 26 November4 December. Due to security restrictions and the lack of entertainment ashore the ship arranged for bands to perform for the crew nightly at the Oasis on the Pier. During most of her time underway in the Gulf, Nimitz served as the flagship for Task Force 50 with aircraft carriers George Washington (CVN-73) and British HMS Invincible (R-05). Nimitz also conducted Maritime Interception Operations, coalition efforts to enforce UN Security Council Resolutions imposed against the Iraqis. The UN prohibited cargo originating from Iraq and any imports not accompanied by a UN authorization letter, though the food for oil agreement permitted the Iraqis to sell oil and import approved goods. Strained relations with the Iranians exacerbated friction in the Gulf, and Nimitz also monitored Victory VIII, an Iranian naval exercise brazenly conducted nearby.
24 Oct 1997: The crew experienced their first barricade arrestment of a Hornet when an F/A-18C (VMFA-314) sustained damage to its nose landing gear and slammed into the barricade, recovering successfully.
26 Oct 1997: GEN Charles C. Krulak, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps, visited.
15 Nov 1997: Nimitz participated in exercise Eager Archer with the Kuwaitis.
2 Nov 1997: VADM Thomas B. Fargo, Commander, Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces Central Command, visited Nimitz.
15-25 Nov 1997: The ship conducted exercise Neon Falcon with the Bahrainis.
18 Nov 1997: MGEN Charles F. Bolden, Jr., USMC, Deputy Commanding General, First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Marine Forces, Pacific, visited the ship.
5 Dec 1997: RADM Sir Ian Forbes, RN, Commander, United Kingdom Task Group, visited Nimitz.
6-10 1997: The carrier participated in exercise Nautical Artist with the Saudis.
9 Dec 1997: MGEN Roger R. Radcliff, USAF, Commander, Joint Task ForceSouthwest Asia, visited the ship.
13-24 Dec 1997: Nimitz conducted Eager Mace with the Kuwaitis.
18 Dec 1997: LGEN Carlton W. Fulford, Jr., USMC, Commanding General, I MEF, visited Nimitz.
24 Dec 1997: ADM Jay L. Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations, and his wife visited the ship, sharing Christmas dinner with the crew on the Mess Decks and addressing them during an All Hands Call in Hanger Bay No. 2.
24-25 Jan 1998: Air Commodore Peter Harris, RAF, Commander, British Forces conducting Operation Bolton to enforce Iraqi compliance with UN sanctions visited.
27 Jan 1998: ADM Clemins again visited Nimitz.
8 Feb 1998: Independence relieved Nimitz, enabling the latter to transit the Strait of Hormuz outbound and leave the Gulf.
11 Feb 1998: The ship sailed through the Bab El Mandeb and entered the Red Sea.
13-14 Feb 1998: Nimitz anchored off Port Suez, Egypt, and passed through the Suez Canal the next day at an average speed of advance of eight knots, 12-hours after entering the canal. Proceeding into the Mediterranean, she rendezvoused with South Carolina, and both ships then turned west. The ships presence made a difference in world events both times, reflected ATCS Charles Bell, a veteran of the 198687 and 199798 deployments. Like our recent deployment to the Arabian Gulf, in 1987, we were stationed off the coast of Libya launching and recovering our fighter and attack aircraft for days at a time. We even missed port visits during both deployments in order to stay on station.
18 Feb 1998: Nimitz transited the Strait of Gibraltar westbound, entering the Atlantic.
23-25 Feb 1998: Nimitz rendezvoused with Enterprise and fast combat support ship Detroit (AOE-4), 750 nautical miles into the Atlantic , and spent two days offloading ammunition. Strong winds and high seas complicated the evolution.
1 Mar 1998: Nimitz completed her voyage around the world, mooring to Pier 11 at NS Norfolk.
15 Apr 1998: Nimitzs Marine Security Detachment of 26 Marines disestablished (after nearly 23 years on board).
26 May 1998: Nimitz made a deadstick move to Drydock No. 11 at Newport News to commence her 33 month refueling complex overhaul. CAPT Steven F. Firks, her CO, noted that the cost of approximately $1.3 billion as nearly twice her original price of $692 million. The ship originally went to sea with two nuclear reactors, which, due to technological improvements, provided her with the some propulsive power as the eight installed in Enterprise . After years of steaming, however, they required considerable work. The crew transferred most support equipment to the Naval Air Systems Command Southeast Rework facility, Solomons Island, Md., and to the Naval Air Depot, NAS Jacksonville, Fla. While in the yard a number of sailors completed afloat training on board other ships at varying periods, including Carl Vinson, John F. Kennedy and guided missile cruiser Normandy (CG-60). The crew also accomplished the Y2K rollover, ensuring that all computer networks complied with 21st Century time-keeping without interrupting end users and without hardware applications failures. Sailors provided critical HH-60 parts to aircraft carrier John C. Stennis (CVN-74). Relatively relaxed watchstanding provided sailors the opportunity to transition from eight duty sections to 10 (five during holiday standdown with a primary and standby alternate sections). Most crewmembers transferred to Floating Accommodation Facility, a $20 million, 300 foot barge with berthing, galleys, office space and medical facilities. The shipyard provided the floating hotel to accommodate crucial crew needed to oversee vital work, though over 1,900 bachelor Sailors berthed ashore. Steelworkers struck, however, from 5 April30 July 1999, delaying progress, though the crew continued the overhaul as well as they could.
15 Jul 1998: RADM Daniel R. Bowler (and his relief RADM Peter W. Marzluff), Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group-5 assumed operational control of Nimitz.
22 Jan 1999: The crew held a memorial service for GMSN Brian E. Hubert, who died when he accidentally fell five decks through an open hatch.
17 Mar 1999: VADM Michael L. Bowman, Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, visited Nimitz.
27 Apr 1999: The crew offloaded their remaining test equipment and shipped it to Naval Surface Weapons Center (NSWC) Seal Beach, Calif.
23 Jun 1999: VADM Michael L. Bowman, Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, again inspected Nimitz.
9 Jul 1999: The crew performed their first baptism in the ships bell. The honor went to Blair A. Thomas, son of ICC Mary M. Thomas of the ships company.
1 Nov 1999: The crew and shipyard workers completed their final hull inspections and flooded Drydock No. 11 to 23 feet of water on the hull.
6 Nov 1999: Nimitz shifted berths from Drydock No. 11 to Outfitting Berth No. 1.
22 Nov 1999: VADM Michael L. Bowman, Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, again inspected Nimitz.
1 Jan 2001: Nimitz began the New Year moored to Pier 2 at Newport News Shipbuilding.
2 Mar 2001: The ship completed her first test catapult shots (27) following overhaul.
19 Mar 2001: Nimitz turned around to face bow in at Pier 2 at Newport News. This is vital to preserve ships from the corrosion of the elements, to prepare them for sea and in this case, to also facilitate her propulsion plant dock trials.
25-27 Jun 2001: Nimitz conducted sea trials.
28 Jun 2001: Newport News announced the redelivery of Nimitz to the Navy. The carrier moored to Pier 11N at NS Norfolk, and the crew began onloading Safe for Sea ordnance, such as small arms ammunition.
162-3 Jul 2001: The ship got underway for her first post overhaul operations, to conduct precision approach and landing system and flight deck certifications, before returning to Pier 11S, Norfolk.
11 Sep 2001: Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the U.S. CAPT Steven F. Firks placed Nimitz, then alongside Pier 11S, in a high state of readiness, assigning sailors to man key security positions on board and preparing for possible homeland defense actions. The Postal Division assumed the grim task of inspecting mail for possible terrorist Anthrax attacks, as well as other deadly agents.
21 Sep-13 Nov 2001: Following her overhaul, Nimitz sailed round Cape Horn to her new home port of NAS North Island. Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 5 and CVWR-20, the latter comprising VFA-204, VAW-78, VS-22, VRC-30, HC-11 and HS-75, embarked. The ship cancelled scheduled port calls en route due to tensions and security considerations resulting from 9/11. During her voyage 40 ship riders (civilian consultants and Sailors) embarked to test systems following overhaul. In addition, soldiers of the Armys 22nd Deeds Not Words Infantry from the 10th Mountain Division performed helo deck landing qualifications. Foul weather, however, tore Nimitzs forward RIM-116A Rolling Airframe Missile System (RAM) launcher overboard during her passage round the Horn.
28 Sep 2001: Nimitz crossed the equator southbound.
3-5 Oct 2001: Nimitz trained with Brazilian naval forces. Brazilian Navy AF-1 Falcãos (McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawks) performed 46 touch and go landings on board, and the Brazilians reciprocated by enabling aircrew to land at São Pedro dAldeia Naval Air Base, to wash corroding sea salt off their aircraft.
9-10 Oct 2001: While training with Uruguayan naval and air forces Nimitz narrowly avoided colliding with a fishing boat during foggy weather. Backing into a swell to avoid the impact, the ship rocked momentarily and her carrier on-board delivery C-2 landed off center. The C-2 nearly slid off the flight deck while carrying Uruguayan visitors, and the mishap wrecked the Greyhound. This necessitated that helo crews had to accomplish all remaining re-supply during her voyage.
14-17 Oct 2001: Nimitz passed around Cape Horn and entered the Pacific Ocean. While she transited the Drake Passage overnight on the 16th, a lookout spotted a light in the water, which was later determined to be a life raft swept overboard by a large wave. Recognizing that high winds approaching 50 knots would adversely affect the normal Williamson or Anderson Turn, the Officer of the Deck brought the ship about by developing the Marblestone Turn, placing the ships auxiliary conning station directly over the raft to search for possible Sailors in peril.
18-19 Oct 2001: Nimitz conducted a bilateral exercise with Chilean naval and air forces.
24 Oct 2001: Nimitz trained with Peruvian naval forces.
28 Oct 2001: Nimitz crossed the equator northbound, and her crew held a "Steel Beach" picnic. Among their events the Sailors held Equator Run 2001, a 26.2 mile marathon, with runners passing the baton as they completed their legs.
37- Nov 2001: Nimitz put into Berth H3/H4 at NS Pearl Harbor, HI, before continuing on toward Californian waters.
13 Nov 2001: Nimitz moored at Berth Kilo at North Island, completing her home port shift and a cruise around the Americas .
17 Nov 2001: Nearly 1,500 Sailors and Marines mostly from Nimitz attended by special invitation the world premier of the motion picture Behind Enemy Lines at North Island .
Feb 2002: Nimitz sent 22 sailors to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif. , to assist the Marines in salvaging an F/A-18 Hornet.
May 2002: ADM Walter F. Doran, CinCPac, visited the ship at North Island.
7-14 May 2002: Nimitz completed sea trials off southern California following post shakedown availability. At the beginning and the end of her trials the ship anchored out.
19-22 Sep 2002: The ship visited Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, her first foreign port visit in upward of four years.
9-19 Dec 2002: During cooperative engagement capability event no. 13, designed to net together sensors and fire control systems to counter aircraft and increasingly capable missiles, off southern California, Nimitz completed her first combined NATO Sea Sparrow and RAM telemetry missile shoots.
16 Mar 2003: Deploying on short notice Nimitz crossed the International Date Line on this date, transferring from the Third to Seventh Fleets, while en route to participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Two squadrons embarked with CVW-11 equipped with F/A-18E/F Super Hornets; (VFAs-14 and 41), the latter with Fs, the first deployment of that model on board. Super Hornet aircrew would prove instrumental in flying close air support of coalition troops on the ground, and for aerial refueling of aircraft. VAW-117 also embarked, flying E-2Cs fitted with NP2000 eight-bladed propellers, the first deployment in Nimitz of these Hawkeyes, which were designed to be quieter, produce smoother flights, conserve fuel and ease maintenance concerns. The ship deployed with rearchitectured NATO Sea Sparrows. Celebrities who entertained the crew included Wayne Newton, Neil McCoy, Brittany Murphy, Alyssa Milano, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, hall of fame basketball star Bob Lanier, Conan OBrien, R. Lee Ermey, Dishwalla and Blink 182. Guided missile cruisers Chosin (CG-65) and Princeton (CG-59), guided missile destroyers Benfold (DDG-65) and Fitzgerald (DDG-62), destroyer Oldendorf (DD-972), guided missile frigate Rodney M. Davis (FFG-60) and fast combat support ship Bridge (T-AOE-10) accompanied Nimitz to war.
21-23 Mar 2003: Nimitz transited the Makassar and Lomboc Straits southbound.
30 Mar-6 Apr 2003: Two Super Hornets, LCDRs Hal Schmitt and Jason Norris (VFA-14), and two F/A-18Fs, LCDRs Brian Garrison and Mark Weisgerber and LTs Tom Poulter and Tom Bodine (VFA-41) temporarily shifted from Nimitz to Abraham Lincoln to provide the latter with an improved mix of fighter/tanker capabilities. The transfer involved a 1,700 mile flight.
Apr 2003: Nimitz assumed duties as Task Force 50s command ship.
3 Apr 2003: Nimitz transferred from the Seventh to Fifth Fleets.
6-7 Apr 2003: Nimitz passed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Arabian Gulf, rendezvousing the next day with Abraham Lincoln.
11 Apr 2003: Nimitz launched her first attacks during this deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom. During most of this period daytime temperatures approached an average of 115º F., taxing Sailors and equipment alike. The crew downloaded real time intelligence of terrorist crimes from Viking aircrew flying from the ship, and from shore based Orions, U-2s and Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk high altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles. At one point the ship suffered the loss of both night integrated avionics test stations, essential for F/A-18 missions. The crew spent hundreds of exhausting hours isolating the problem, which they discovered to be a manufacturing defect. Consequently, Nimitz alerted the Fleet and the Navy removed the defective parts from its supply system.
Jun 2003: While conducting exercise Infinite Acclaim with the Jordanians the ship sent a security detachment ashore to that countrys ANZRAC Air Base, the first time that a security detachment operated so far from the ship, at one point over 1,200 miles away.
4 Jun 2003: Nimitz medically evacuated a sailor from submarine Pasadena (SSN-752). Due to the mans serious condition he required immediate medical attention beyond the capabilities of the sub, and a rigid hull inflatable boat crew transferred him from Pasadena , which was considered a more feasible move than a normal helicopter procedure due to the subs size.
Jul 2003: The crew installed a video ingestor for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., RQ-1A/MQ-1B/MQ-9A medium altitude endurance Predator and Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle feeds for operations with the Fifth Fleet.
27 Jul 2003: An EA-6B (VAQ-135) crashed in the Arabian Gulf at approximately 1100. Seahawks (HS-6) rescued all four aircrew.
Aug 2003: Nimitz transited the Strait of Hormuz to operate in the northern Arabian Sea, on 1 August. She returned to the Gulf on the 15th, operating there until the 21st, when Nimitz again steamed in the northern Arabian Sea, before returning to the Gulf from 23 August3 September.
4-11 Sep 2003: Nimitz sailed easterly courses toward Singapore.
11-12 Sep 2003: Nimitz transited the Strait of Malacca eastbound.
21-22 Sep 2003: After a brief visit to Changi Naval Base at Singapore followed by operations in the South China Sea, Nimitz passed through the Strait of Malacca into the Indian Ocean. The ship principally steamed within the Andaman Sea.
6-7 Sep 2003: Nimitz sailed through the Strait of Malacca eastbound, her final such transit through the strategically crucial passage during this deployment.
27 Oct 2003: Nimitz crossed the International Date Line and passed from the operational control of the Seventh to Third Fleets.
23 Dec 2003: Nimitz moored to valve barge RO M-5 and berthing barge APL-65. Most of the crew completed moving on board the barges by the following month, though selected sailors billeted ashore in hotels.
5 Nov 2003: Nimitz returned from her extended deployment to WestPac, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf . CVW-11 flew more than 6,500 combat missions and dropped over 125,000 pounds of ordnance on the enemy during Iraqi Freedom. Sailors adapted innovative tactics to fight their diabolical adversaries, and as a reflection of changing warfare many helo aircrew flew more than half of their operational flight hours in the demanding nocturnal environment, utilizing night vision goggles.
23 Feb-22 Aug 2004: The ship completed a planned incremental availability at North Island.
18 May 2004: Japanese fighter pilots from World War II toured Nimitz as part of the last international grand reunion of the Unabara-kai [Imperial Navy Surviving Aviators Association].
17 Aug 2004: VADM James M. Zortman relieved VADM Michael D. Malone as Commander, Naval Air Forces, in a ceremony on board Nimitz at North Island .
20-24 Sep 2004: Fleet replenishment squadrons completed over 700 arrested landings during carrier qualifications off southern California , qualifying 47 pilots. Nimitz also supported Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX)-23s lateral asymmetry flight testing with F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.
10 Nov 2004: Nimitz celebrated the Marine Corps birthday underway with VMFA-232 embarked.
20 Nov 2004: Most of Carrier Strike Group-11 (less submarine Louisville (SSN-724) and Bridge), comprising Nimitz with CVW-11 embarked, Princeton and guided missile destroyers Chaffee (DDG-90) and Higgins (DDG-76) completed its first group training exercise, off southern California. In 2003, the Chief of Naval Operations directed that the terms carrier battle group and amphibious ready group be replaced respectively with carrier strike group (CSG) and expeditionary strike group (ESG), to reflect the enhanced striking power of more widely distributed forces designed to be more responsive.
21 Mar 2005: Screenwriter Doug Richardson hosted a special showing of the motion picture Hostage, starring Bruce Willis, on board.
25 May 2005: Nimitz operated with Japanese naval and air forces, including destroyers Akebono (DD-108), Makinami (DD-112) and Myoko (DDG-175).
18-22 Jun 2005: Nimitz visited Guam, her first visit to the strategically vital island.
14 Jul 2005: Nimitz visited Port Kelang, Malaysia, her first visit to that country.
Jul 2005: The ship relieved Carl Vinson in the northern Arabian Gulf, commencing operations supporting Iraqi Freedom.
2 Aug 2005: Nimitz Cruiser Princeton medically evacuated OS1 Thomas C. Hull of Princeton, Ill., to Nimitz due to a non-combat related incident,. Hull died shortly thereafter on board the carrier.
7 Sep 2005: A rescue and assistance team from Princeton, Air Defense Commander, Nimitz carrier strike group, consisting of ENC Duane Paulsen, EM1 Brett Reape, DC1 James Pizinger, DC2 Terry Artis, HT2 Wiley Henley, HT3 Lovell Cooper, DC3 Lucas Hanson and EM3 John Young, responded to a distress call from motor vessel Ali Alhadid, which suffered an accident in the Arabian Gulf. As the team boarded the vessel Ali Alhadid was taking on water in her engine room and listing ominously to port, but the Sailors dewatered the engine room and saved the ship and her crew. Nimitz coordinated the rescue.
12-17 Sep 2005: SA Robert D. Macrum from Sugarland, Texas, fell overboard from Princeton in the Arabian Gulf . The Nimitz carrier strike group initiated a search and rescue covering a 360 square mile area, only ending their search on the 17th after failing to recover their shipmate.
22 Sep 2005: Nimitz transited the Strait of Hormuz outbound, departing the Arabian Gulf and completing nine weeks of Maritime Security Operations, which maintained security and stability and complemented counter-terrorism. She launched more than 4,500 sorties totaling over 11,000 flight hours since entering the Fifth Fleets area of responsibility, including more than 1,100 sorties and 6,000 flight hours in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
27 Sep-5 Oct 2005: Nimitz participated in Malabar 05 the seventh iteration of the annual air, surface and sub-surface exercise with Indian naval forces. Nimitz operated for the first time with Indian aircraft carrier Viraat (R-22). Indian exchange officers paired up with their American opposite numbers on board Nimitz. The series of exercises over the years has built up to a very complex scale of operations, observed visiting LCDR Sudipto Maitra, to the state where two carriers are operating in the same waters, same air space, and so many aircraft flying around very safely.
4 Oct 2005: Tragedy marked Malabar 05, however, when PO2 Brian K. Joplin from Hugo, Okla. (Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM)-15), died when he fell out of a Sikorsky MH-53E Sea Stallion (BuNo 162514) while training in the Gulf. The Nimitz carrier strike group supported the search for Joplin .
7-12 Oct 2005: Nimitz put into Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia. Her crew eagerly awaited the visit as Australians are known for their hospitality to U.S. Sailors.
2006: During Nimitzs deployment she participated in a Fleet-wide manning experiment to determine how many crewmembers Nimitz class carriers required to operate optimally. Her total ships company numbered just 2,900, reduced from her previous roster of 3,149, and CVW-11 dropped from 1,443 to 1,249 Sailors.
|Home Port Assignments
|NS Norfolk, Va.
||12 Apr 1975
|PSNS Bremerton, Wash.
||1 Jul 1987
|Newport News, Va.
||1 Sep 1997
|NAS North Island, Calif.
||13 Nov 2001