SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 6,200 Sailors from the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) deployed from San Diego May 7 to conduct operations in the Central and Western Pacific. The ships will support the global war on terrorism with joint and combined operations and carry out other assignments as directed.
The Nimitz CSG includes Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, Destroyer Squadron 23, the Aegis-equipped guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS Chafee (DDG 90), the fast combat support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10), and the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Louisville (SSN 724). All of the ships in the Nimitz CSG are homeported in San Diego, Calif., with the exception of Chafee and Louisville, both homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Bridge, homeported in Bremerton, Wash. Higgins departed May 6.
Nimitz is the flagship for the strike group commander, Rear Adm. Peter Daly, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11. On deployment, Nimitz is also home to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23, commanded by Capt. Gordan Van Hook, and Carrier Air Wing 11, commanded by Capt. Tom Cropper.
Capt. Ted Branch of Long Beach, Miss., commands Nimitz at the center of the strike group. Nimitz carries approximately 3.5 million gallons of fuel to support more than 70 aircraft and three escort ships, and enough weapons and stores for extended operations without replenishment. The flight deck covers 4.5 acres and looms almost seven stories above the water.
Nimitz's embarked air wing consists of the following types of aircraft: F/A-18C Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, E-2C Hawkeye 2000, C-2A Greyhound and SH-60F/HH-60H Seahawk. These aircraft can be used to conduct inland strikes, support land battles, and protect the strike group or other friendly shipping. The ship's two nuclear reactors give it virtually unlimited range and endurance and a top speed in excess of 30 knots. The ship's four catapults and four arresting gear engines enable it to launch and recover aircraft rapidly and simultaneously. The Nimitz CSG provides a visible presence to demonstrate resolve in a crisis.
The Nimitz CSG's previous deployment included support for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. However, a third of the ship's air wing returned from a two-month deployment around Central and South America embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in July 2004.
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