USS NIMITZ, Yokosuka, Japan (NNS) -- Crew members from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) volunteered for a community service project to paint the famed Japanese battleship Mikasa Aug. 25 in Yokosuka, Japan.
The Nimitz has a special connection to the Mikasa. Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz greatly admired Adm. Heihachiro Togo, the "victor of the battle of Tsushima", who defeated a Russian fleet from the flying bridge of Mikasa.
The much-needed paint job, applied to the hull and super structure of the 110-year old Japanese battleship, was a way for current Nimitz Sailors to preserve the memory of their ship's namesake.
Adm. Nimitz helped to spearhead a movement to save Togo's flagship after World War II. Today, the ship sits in Mikasa Park on display as a museum.
"Mikasa is not categorized as an active ship; we don't receive much funding from the government to maintain it," said retired Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force Capt. Greg Kouta the museum curator. "That's why painting by the volunteer group from the Nimitz is a great support."
Nimitz volunteers arrived with all the equipment needed to preserve the ship but also with the personal motivation to continue the cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Japan.
"It feels good to come out and help fix up this monument," said Chief (sel.) Yeoman (AW/SW) Alexis Nicholas. "The historical aspect and the ties that we as Nimitz Sailors have to the Mikasa makes me feel proud ... It's like I am part of history."
Many Yokosuka residents were present in Mikasa Park to watch the project and to hear the U.S. 7th Fleet Dixieland Band perform.
"A lady that was walking by smiled and said 'arigato', which I know means 'thank you' in Japanese," said Machinist's Mate Fireman Chelsea McCray. "That made me feel really good about what we're doing."
The Battle of Tsushima was a major engagement during the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 during which 34 of 38 Russian ships were sunk, captured or disarmed.
Nimitz CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. John W. Miller, Commander, CSG 11, is comprised of USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the guided-missile destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Sampson (DDG 102) of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chosin (CG 55) from Commander, Naval Surface Group, Mid Pacific and the Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) from DESRON 1. Squadrons from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 include the "Black Aces" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 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. Detachments from the "Easy Riders" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light HSL 37, the "Battle Cats" of HSL 43, the "Wolfpack" of HSL 45 and the "Scorpions" of HSL 49. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 and the USNS Bridge (T-AOE-10) embarking the "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 also accompany Nimitz CSG.
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.