NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) -- The crew of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) was awarded the coveted Battle Efficiency Award (Battle "E") April 7 for 2003.
The award, announced in a naval message, is Nimitz's third in nearly 29 years of service.
Nimitz, which last won the Battle "E" in 1996, also won 10 departmental awards as part of the battle efficiency evaluation. The ship received the Air Yellow "E"; Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) Black "E"; Combat Systems Green "CS"; Damage Control Red "DC"; Deck Crossed Anchors; Engineering Nuclear Red "E"; Medical Blue "M"; Navigation White Ship's Wheel; Operations Green "E"; and Weapons Black "W." Each award is painted on the island of the ship.
According to Commander, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet's (COMNAVSURFPAC) Surface Force training manual, the award, given annually to the best ships in the Pacific Fleet, recognizes a command's sustained superior performance in an operational environment. To qualify for Battle "E" consideration, a ship must be nominated by its immediate superior in command, as well as win a minimum of three of five command excellence awards, which include the Type Commander Ship's Safety; Maritime Warfare Excellence; Engineering and Survivability; Command, Control and Information Warfare Excellence; and the Supply and Management Awards.
Sailors aboard the ship had mixed reactions to the news.
"I didn't know what the Battle "E" was until we won it," said Airman Michael Jones, aboard the first ship of his career. "It's great, because it shows the effort put forth during deployment with working in heat in the Gulf and not making a lot of port visits. It makes me proud, too, because when I wear the ribbon, everyone will know that I was on one of the best ships."
"It always makes me proud to be on a ship that has accomplished this," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Melvin Davis. "I'm glad to be a part of it."
According to the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Robert J. Gilman, despite performing combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom, it was the consistent hard work of the crew that really earned the award.
"I'm very, very proud," Gilman said. "This is a significant accomplishment. This ship is just what I knew it was--on top in the Pacific Fleet."
For related news, visit the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn68.