SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The crew of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) paused to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the ship's commissioning with an all hands picnic, May 3.
The ship's Morale Welfare and Recreation and Supply department hosted the event, with volunteer assistance from Nimitz' chief petty officers and first class petty officers, and members of the Nimitz Junior Enlisted Association.
Nimitz Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Ruth called on the crew to reflect on the historical role Nimitz has played in the ship's nearly four decades of service.
"In 1975 a new class of aircraft carrier entered the fleet," he said. "Thirty-seven years later this ship and her entire crew proudly continue to uphold the traditions of teamwork and professionalism that make this ship the first and finest in its class."
Since its commissioning, the ship completed 14 deployments. Nimitz most recently departed its homeport of Everett, Wash., and arrived to Naval Station North Island, San Diego, to embark elements of Carrier Air Wing 11 as the ship prepares to complete various certifications and qualifications following its Docked Planned Incremental Availability.
The keel for the Nimitz (CVAN 68) was laid June 22, 1968, at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Va.
The Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Nimitz was christened and launched from Shipway 11, Newport News, May 13, 1972. On March 1, 1975 PCU Nimitz got underway for the first time to conduct Builder's sea trials.
The ship was delivered to the U.S. Navy on April 11 and arrived at its homeport of Norfolk, Va. April 12. On May 3, Nimitz was commissioned in a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk's Pier 12 by President Gerald R. Ford. Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger, Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. James L. Holloway, III, were among the more than 20,000 guests in attendance.
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