The 37-Year-Old USS Nimitz Is Sidelined After Spending A Year Undergoing Repairs


Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Launched just over a year before the bicentennial of the United States in 1975, the USS Nimitz has been diagnosed with mechanical problems that will keep it sidelined for at least two months.See the Nimitz >

Aside from offering a hard look at America’s ageing naval force, the Nimitz’s propulsion system problem will leave just one carrier in the Persian Gulf for the first time since December 2010.

With a projected lifespan of about 50 years the Nimitz is more than a decade away from possible retirement. This longevity is expected with regular maintenance and overhauls, like the one USS Nimitz underwent in Bremerton, Washington in 2011.

The carrier spent more than a year in port undergoing service and re-entered service in March 2012, but whether this breakdown is a concern after such an extensive overhaul has yet to be confirmed by the Navy.

In the meantime, it’s the USS Eisenhower that will pick up the slack and cover the Nimitz’s rotation in the Persian Gulf. The Ike is already in that part of the world with 5th Fleet in Bahrain, but will be returning to its home port of Norfolk for a flight deck resurfacing before heading back.

A changing schedule is part of Navy life and servicemembers and their families do their best to keep that in mind and go with the flow, but it’s a disruption on everyone involved.

With the Nimitz making today’s headlines we thought we’d take a look at the flag ship of Carrier Strike Group 11.

USS Nimitz is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11 that included five other ships and four additional fighter squadrons on its last deployment

The carrier will be at sea for at least six months when deployed and supplies are constantly brought aboard

Carrier Air Wing 11 is attached to the Nimitz and its pilots and ground crew work alongside sailors

In 1981 an EA-6B Prowler crashed on the Nimitz flight deck — 14 crewmen were killed and 45 others were injured

The ensuing fire damaged or destroyed 11 other aircraft

When a flight deck crewman tested positive for marijuana during an autopsy, the military instituted its 'Zero Tolerance' drug policy

That is what began mandatory drug testing for all members of the armed forces

Another odd mishap occurred in 1988 when a 20 mm cannon went off during maintenance killing two people and destroying six planes in the ensuing fire

The Nimitz is a nuclear carrier that doesn't require storing fuel of its own — only for its aircraft

To support its Air Wing, the Nimitz retains 3.5 million gallons of aircraft fuel

This 'Ouija Board' is used in flight control to keep track of the constant flow of aircraft on the deck

In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Nimitz is seen partially sunk in New York Harbor

Four distilling units allow the Nimitz to make over 400,000 gallons of fresh water a day

About 6,000 people call the Nimitz home on deployments, eating 18,000 meals a day — one barber shop does 1,500 cuts each week

The ship has six doctors capable of performing nearly every medical procedure and five dentists

The reactors that power the ship not only eliminate fuel costs — they allow the Nimitz to carry 50 per cent more ammunition than conventional carriers

That's the sidelined carrier

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