The crews of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 worked tirelessly, Dec. 12, to get approximately 620 CVW-11 Sailors ashore.
Nimitz experienced a maintenance issue that could have caused an extension of their schedule had they pulled into the air wing’s usual debarkation port of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif (NASNI) to conduct the maintenance. The delay may have impacted thousands of Sailor’s holiday plans, and it was a top leadership priority to keep the ship on its training schedule. As the maintenance issue was repairable at sea, the Nimitz was able to maintain her original schedule.
“To ensure the ship and her crew returned home on time back to its homeport of Bremerton, Wash., Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadrons HSM-75, and HSM-79 flew the Sailors of CVW-11 ashore in groups via helicopter.
During the 8-hour evolution, Sailors homeported at NASNI were flown from the flight deck of Nimitz to the NASNI airfields to ensure they also get home on time. This event was made possible by the flexibility and coordination of multiple organizations.
The remaining 720 air wing Sailors stayed on board the ship and disembarked when the ship arrived in Bremerton Dec. 15.
“Nimitz’ Operations Department, in conjunction with CVW-11 Operations and NAS North Island Operations constructed the fly off plan the night prior to the evolution,” said Cmdr. Kevin Cahill, Nimitz Air Operations Officer. “Nimitz positioned as close to NAS North Island as possible to facilitate faster transition from ship to shore. NASNI played a crucial role by ensuring the smooth flow of helicopter operations around the airfield, giving aircraft supporting this event priority handling. This is proof of the Navy’s adaptability to changing environments and evolving plans to execute any mission when called upon.”
Sailors and pilots from Strike Fighter Squadrons VFA-154, VFA-147 and VFA-146, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron VMFA 323, Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-142, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron VAW-121, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron VRC-30, HSC-8 and HSM-75, embarked Nimitz in November to join Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 and Nimitz in conducting Tailored Ship’s Training Assessment and Final Evolution Problem.
Upon Nimitz’ return, the ship and its crew will go into a stand-down period to allow for holiday leave before undergoing the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) and Composite Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) in preparation for an upcoming 2017 deployment.
Story by USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Public Affairs