Our day began with meeting with not only Captain Ring and his wife in the hanger deck, but also the incoming CO, Capt Lenox, who will take over the Nimitz on Jan 12. After welcoming remarks, we went to the CO’s in port cabin, which has a lot of memorabilia related to the career of Admiral Nimitz from WWII.
Captain Ring gave us a very nice explanation of the battle of Midway in June of 1942, which was one of the decisive events in the war, and one of the early great American victories, and one in which Adm Nimitz was involved.
Our next stop was flight deck control, where we got a great explanation of how the ship’s personnel keep track of where each individual aircraft is positioned on board at any time. There are clever ways they indicate which ones need fuel, ordinance, maintenance, etc. If an aircraft has a problem with it’s arresting hook, they can erect a net quickly across the deck to stop it when it lands.
We next went up to the bridge, where the ship is driven. The Captain told us about how the ship is operated, how the replenishment of supplies is handled, how navigation is done, and many more items. He very patiently answered all our questions. One of the many things that were impressive was about the fuel transfer to the carrier. Of course, since it is nuclear powered, there is no need to refuel the ship, but the do need to bring aboard aviation fuel for flight ops. The ship carries millions of gallons of aviation fuel. He indicated that it takes about a mile to come to a complete stop.
Next we went up one story to the Air Boss space, which is in the “island” right above the Captain’s Bridge. They told us that the new Joint Strike Fighters operate from this ship. They can recover a plane approximately once a minute & launch one approximately every 30 seconds.
Our next stop was the fo’c’s’le, where the anchor chain is stored. Each link is 360 lbs and the each anchor is 30 tons. Capt Ring told us that it isn’t the anchor that holds the ship in place, but the weight of the chain that is let out to rest on the ocean bottom.
We then toured some of the berthing areas. The bunks for the enlisted below E6 are stacked high. They have limited storage space, just a small locker & the small compartment beneath their mattress.. There is a little more space for the higher enlisted ranks & officers.
We passed through the mess decks, where we were told that they serve 15,000 meals per day.
After a nice stop by the ship’s store, where we bought ship’s logo items, we went to a delicious buffet lunch in one of the officer’s eating areas.
Capt Ring noted that the ship & it’s personnel are definitely a part of the Kitsap community. About 1500 of the ship’s families live in Kitsap. The sailors are involved in a lot of community relations activities, including building houses for Habitat for Humanity, working in local soup kitchens, helping with the Kitsap Humane Society, and serving meals at the Veteran’s Home.
Just with their presence on station, they served as a deterrent against adverse behavior by the Syrian government during their last deployment.
All in all, it was a tremendous tour, arranged by LCDR Theresa Donnelly of the media department. She & her staff were stellar in providing us with a magnificent tour experience. We are very grateful to Capt Ring, LCDR Donnelly, Ens Meagan Morrison & MC2 Holly Herline for their kindness to us.