After her commissioning May 3, 1975, Nimitz’ first deployment began July 7, 1976 when she departed Norfolk for the Mediterranean. Nimitz again sailed toward the Mediterranean Sea Dec. 1, 1977. Sept. 10, 1979, she was dispatched to the Indian Ocean as tensions heightened after Iran took of 52 U.S. hostages. Four months later, Operation Evening Light was launched from Nimitz in an attempt to rescue the hostages. The rescue was aborted in the Iranian desert when the number of operational helicopters fell below the minimum needed to complete the rescue.
Oct. 29, 1988, Nimitz began operating in the North Arabian Sea in support of Operation Earnest Will. Nimitz then departed Bremerton on Feb. 25, 1991 for the Arabian Gulf, relieving USS Ranger (CV 61), during Operation Desert Storm. Nimitz again deployed Feb. 1, 1993 to the Arabian Gulf, relieving USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as part of Operation Southern Watch.
Sept. 1, 1997, Nimitz set out on an around-the-world cruise. During this deployment, Nimitz was ordered into the Arabian Gulf to support Operation Southern Watch and various United Nations initiatives.
Nimitz arrived at her new homeport in San Diego Nov. 13, 2001. In 2003, Nimitz deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. In May 2005, Nimitz embarked on a six-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. After leaving the Gulf, the strike group participated in Malabar 2005, an exercise between the U.S. and Indian navies. In 2007 and 2008, Nimitz CSG deployed in support of the U.S. commitment to peace and stability in the region. Nimitz departed to the Persian Gulf for a scheduled eight-month Western Pacific deployment on July 31, 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Nimitz arrived at her new homeport in Everett, Washington in March 2012. March 30, 2013, Nimitz deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Nov. 3, 2014, Nimitz took part in naval aviation history when the Navy’s fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter, F-35 Lightning, touched down on a carrier at sea for the first time.
Nimitz arrived at her new homeport in Bremerton, Washington Jan. 13, 2015. Beginning Jan. 15, 2016, Nimitz underwent a 20-month extended incremental availability (EPIA). Nimitz began workups Oct. 10, 2016 for a 2017 deployment completing sea trials, and Tailored Ships Training Availability and Final Evaluation Problem (TSTA-FEP). Nimitz returned to sea Jan. 28, 2017 to undergo its first Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) since 2010.
In April 2017 Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 completed its final pre-deployment assessment, Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), marking the completion of a condensed Inter-Deployment Training Cycle (IDTC). Nimitz deployed on a regularly scheduled deployment June 1 to the U.S. 7th Fleet (C7F) and U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) areas of operations.
Nimitz again deployed on February 1, 1993, to the Arabian Gulf, relieving USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as part of Operation Southern Watch.
On September 1, 1997, Nimitz set out on an around-the-world cruise that would allow the carrier to return to her East Coast roots and begin a multi-year overhaul at Newport News Ship building and Drydock Company. During this deployment, Nimitz was ordered into the Arabian Gulf to support Operation Southern Watch and various United Nations initiatives; answering each challenge. At times the Nimitz Battle Group was the only force available in the region to enforce U.N. sanctions as lraq launched a campaign of defiance.
Before the cruise was over, the U.S. returned to a policy of keeping two carriers in the Gulf simultaneously. Nimitz returned to Virginia on March 1, 1998, and on May 26, 1998, began her mid-life refueling overhaul.
Nimitz deployed on a regularly scheduled deployment June 1 to the U.S. 7th Fleet (C7F) and U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F) areas of operations. The deploying units from DESRON 9 accompanying Nimitz are the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Hopper (DDG 70), USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Kidd (DDG 100), and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59). Nimitz strike group is part of U.S. 3rd Fleet, which leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet constantly coordinates with U.S. 7th Fleet to plan and execute missions based on their complementary strengths to promote ongoing peace, security, and stability throughout the entire Pacific theater of operations.
Embarked aviation squadrons of CVW-11 are: Lemoore, California-based “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, “Black Knights” of VFA 154, “Blue Diamonds” of VFA 146, San Diego-based “Death Rattlers” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the Whidbey Island, Washington-based “Gray Wolves” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 142, Norfolk-based “Bluetails” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, and San Diego-based “Eightballers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, “Wolfpack” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75 and “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30.
Nimitz participated in Exercise Malabar from July 7 to July 17. Malabar is an annual maritime exercise the U.S. Navy participates in with the Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. Exercise Malabar is designed to improve interoperability between the U.S., Indian and Japanese maritime forces, provide an opportunity to conduct engagements with India and Japan, and demonstrate U.S. naval presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. This year was the largest and most complex iteration of the exercise, with three aircraft carriers participating for the first time, two submarines and 95 aircraft highlighting the deepened partnership between the three nations.
OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE
Nimitz flew missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from July to October, launching 1,322 sorties and dropping 904 pieces of ordnance from the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. During more than three months in the region, the ship and its crew also supported the mission by building 1,112 pieces of ordnance and performing flight deck operations during the day and at night.
CARRIER STRIKE FORCE OPERATIONS
Nimitz participated in a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific, Nov. 11-14. While at sea, Nimitz conducted air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers, and other training. The coordinated operations in international waters demonstrated the U.S. Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike force effort. This was the first time three carrier strike groups operated together in the Western Pacific since exercises Valiant Shield 2006 and 2007 off the coast of Guam. The exercise focused on the ability to rapidly bring together forces from three strike groups in response to any regional situation.