USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Sampson (DDG 102) arrived at Yokosuka Naval Base Aug. 24 for a scheduled port visit as part of their 2009 Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment.
The visit is an outward demonstration of U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan and to maintaining peace and stability throughout the entire East Asia region.
While in Japan members of the crew will participate in a community service project restoring the historic battleship Mikasa. They will also visit the many attractions and historic places in and around Tokyo while on liberty. While there the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus visited the crew.
USS Nimitz has a special connection to Mikasa. Chester Nimitz greatly admired Admiral Heihachir Togo the, "victor of the battle of Tsushima," recognizing him as one of the world's greatest naval officers, preserving a monument of honor for two nations.
After World War II, Admiral Nimitz helped to spearhead a movement to save admiral Togo's flagship in order to preserve it as a museum. He published an article in the Japanese magazine Bungei Shunju saying, "I do hope that appropriate measures will be taken for the ship, so that the accomplishments of Admiral Togo, whom Sailors all over the world admire, can be remembered."
The payment he received for writing the article became the first donation to the Admiral Togo memorial fund, and thus started a movement that saved the famed ship.
Capt. Michael Manazir, Nimitz' commanding officer, commented on the importance of the sustaining that relationship before relinquishing command later in the visit.
"There is a lasting bond between our navies and preserving the strongest bilateral relationship in the Pacific. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz had deep respect for Admiral Togo and in the aftermath of World War II was instrumental in preserving the Japanese battle flagship Mikasa, which we will help celebrate later this week."
The Nimitz' visit will conclude with a reception on the Mikasa co-hosted by Nimitz Strike Group and the Mikasa Preservation Society.
The battle of Tsushima was a major engagement during the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 where 34 of 38 Russian ships were sunk, captured or disarmed.
The U.S. maintains a naval presence in Japan as a reflection of our commitment to our most important bilateral security alliance.
This is the first port visit for Nimitz during her 2009 WESTPAC deployment.
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.