Taking a look at the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz’ (CVN 68) schedule for the past year, it’s obvious it has been exceptionally busy for the crew. The compressed training cycle, time away from home and long monotonous days in the heat of the Arabian Gulf are starting to take its toll on the crew, and it is visible on the faces of the personnel walking throughout the passageways. Although the faces of these Sailors seem to be drained of energy and motivation, their eyes can tell a different story: the story of tenacity and determination to follow through with what they have started.
Nimitz recently completed three months of a slated six-month deployment, and there is only one thing on the crew’s mind: we’re halfway done!
“We still got about a month and a half left on station doing our nation’s business,” said Command Master Chief Jimmy W. Hailey. “The longer we are here, the harder it gets. This is where we really see our Sailors dig deep and push forward.”
Setting deployment milestones, personal goals or finishing up qualifications can help aid the push to make the next few months pass by just a little quicker.
“It’s not hard to forget what day of the week it is,” said Hailey. “People need to think about finding those little goals to break up the monotony of deployment and what we are doing out here. You have to break it down into little perspectives. We just left Bahrain, in less than a month we will be in Dubai, and in less than a month after that, we will be chopping out of the Arabian Gulf and transiting home.”
Other things to look out for besides port visits are possible shipboard events, such as steel beach picnics, swim calls, etc.
“After we pull in to Hawaii, we’ll send a bunch of people home and bring the Tigers aboard and commence that final phase of deployment,” said Hailey. “If we’re able to do Wog Day, we will. It’s all up to our schedule.”
Aside from the possible events, the all-to-familiar appeal to earn qualifications will always exist. This time is unique in that there are minimal distractions that keep a Sailor from getting their qualifications, and there are Sailors awake 24-hours of the day to help.
“People need to look at the fact that now is the time to be working towards the goals and qualifications,” said Hailey. “When we pull back into Bremerton, you will have lots of distractions like wanting to be out doing other things or spending time with family. A lot of these qualifications are harder to obtain when you are in the yards and that should be a really big driving factor to get these things done.”
Deployment provides a prime opportunity to get a considerable amount of qualifications knocked out of the way. Setting little goals and working towards something can also serve as a distraction and help time pass quicker.
“The plan when we get home is to take a knee for about a month,” said Hailey. “We’ve been working everyone hard. After that, we’re going to come back and jump right into getting everyone ready for dry dock in March.”
With nearly three months left of deployment, the faces of the Sailors slowly start to brighten. Their eyes tell the same story of tenacity and determination as it did before, though they must not lose sight of what is in front of them: the finish line to the marathon.
“We have to remember that every day done is one day closer to home,” said Hailey.
Nimitz is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While in this region, the ship and strike group are conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leon Wong