USS NIMITZ, Gulf of Oman (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. Central Command arrived aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Nov. 26 for a two-day visit to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with the crew and observe carrier operations.
Nimitz immediately welcomed Army Gen. David H. Petraeus with an opportunity to show him flight operations from the aviator's perspective.
Petraeus flew in an F/A-18F Super Hornet from the "Black Aces" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41 with Capt. Scott Conn, deputy commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11. After his one-hour flight Petraeus was impressed with the capabilities of the Super Hornet.
"It's an incredible aircraft," said Petraeus. "Up there, life comes at you fast in a couple of moments. It was the thrill of a lifetime."
From the Nimitz flight deck, the squadrons of CVW-11 provide 30 percent of the close air support to coalition forces on the ground in Afghanistan.
"Well the Nimitz and all of the ships in this task force are playing a very important role throughout the Central Command area of responsibility," said Petraeus. "Obviously the close air support that flies off the deck and supports our Soldiers and Marines on the ground in Afghanistan is of enormous importance."
During his visit Petraeus will conduct re-enlistments, present awards and celebrate Thanksgiving with Nimitz Sailors.
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is on a routine deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. Nimitz CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. John W. Miller, is comprised of USS Nimitz, embarked Carrier Air Wing 11, embarked Destroyer Squadron 23, and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chosin. Ships assigned to DESRON 23 include the destroyers USS Pinckney, USS Sampson and the frigate USS Rentz.
Squadrons from CVW 11 include the "Black Aces" of Strike Fighter Squadron 41, the "Tophatters" of VFA 14, the "Warhawks" of VFA 97, the "Sidewinders" of VFA 86, the "Indians" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6, the "Black Ravens" of Electronic Attack Squadron 135, the "Providers" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30 and the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron 117.
Helicopter detachments include the "Easy Riders" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 37, the "Battle Cats" of HSL 43, the "Wolfpack" of HSL 45, the "Scorpions" of HSL 49 and the "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23. Also accompanying the Nimitz CSG are Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 and the USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10).
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.