SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Air Forces (COMNAVAIRFOR) Vice Adm. James Zortman awarded USS Nimitz (CVN 68) the Battle "E" plaque for most battle-efficient aircraft carrier in the U.S. Pacific Fleet in a ceremony June 8.
The award recognizes aircraft carriers that have demonstrated superior performance and readiness in categories such as navigation, combat systems and weapons. The carrier took 11 of the 12 departmental awards given by COMNAVAIRFOR.
"You're on a ship that a whole class is named after," Zortman said. "So that makes you the first in your class, and this award means you're the best in the class."
Nimitz previously earned a Battle "E" during the 2003 grading period, making this its second award in three years.
Zortman praised Nimitz for their accomplishments during its 2005 Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment.
Nimitz Commanding Officer Capt. Ted Branch congratulated the ship on its success and promised more to come.
"It's a great day for Nimitz!" Branch said. "With this crew, we'll be tough to beat in next year's competition, too."
"We had really steep competition, and this says that we are the best," said Lt. Cmdr. Tara McArthur-Milton, Nimitz training officer. "From sustained superior performance in all departments to JTFEX and our successful deployment, everybody worked hard to maintain a high level of readiness at all times. I think it's a fantastic achievement."
For some younger Sailors, their first Battle "E" is more than a source of pride.
"We've got bragging rights now because we're the best," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 2nd Class (AW/SW) Mercedes Amador, of Nimitz' Air Department. "Our ship is outstanding."
For related news, visit the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.