RED SEA (NNS) -- The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group reentered the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) after transiting the Suez Canal, Nov. 8.
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), along with embarked Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11, Carrier Air Wing 11, and Destroyer Squadron 23, spent nearly three weeks in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations conducting exercises with NATO allies and making a port call in Naples, Italy.
While in the Mediterranean, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet visited Nimitz where he hosted a luncheon reception for local officials to strengthen the already solid relationship between the U.S. and its NATO allies.
"This was a wonderful opportunity to return hospitality to our friends and allies in the region," said Rear Adm. Mike S. White, commander of CSG-11. "Nimitz Strike Group is truly an elite force and every Sailor and Marine did an outstanding job upholding the values we stand for, making this a successful port visit."
The visit came as a surprise to many Sailors and Marines aboard the ship after spending nearly 80 consecutive days at sea in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
"Having the opportunity to go to Naples was pretty amazing," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Michael Peru. "It's not common for a West Coast carrier to hit a European port so that alone was worth the experience. I was able to see a lot of neat, historical places, eat some delicious food and relax with my friends."
Nimitz left its homeport of Everett, Wash., March 30 for a scheduled Western Pacific deployment and is currently supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.