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Nimitz Strike Group WESTPAC 05 Deployment
CVN-68 Nimitz
"Teamwork - A Tradition"

Nimitz officially kicked off its planned incremental availability (PIA) Feb. 23, 2004 to begin a six-month maintenance period to prepare the ship for its next deployment. From air conditioning units and electronics, to berthing spaces and self-service laundry, the ship received many upgrades, improvements and repairs. Besides the quality of life improvements Nimitz was scheduled to receive, the ship also had an overhaul of some of its mission essential equipment and systems. One of the most complex tasks performed during Nimitz's PIA was modifying the ship's 10 air conditioning plants to use environmentally friendly refrigerant. The replacement of catwalk grating, the rework of the catapults, the resurfacing of the flight deck and the replacement of service steam piping throughout the ship was also scheduled. Although maintenance is not new to the carrier, this was Nimitz's first PIA and has required a great deal of preparation. The ship completed PIA no later than its end date of Aug. 23, 2004.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68) returned to Naval Air Station North Island on Sept. 24, 2004 after a successful Fleet Replacement Squadron Carrier Qualification (FRSCQ) five-day underway period. The ship and her crew qualified or requalified 47 pilots, allowed Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 an opportunity to experiment with the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, and provided landing signal officers (LSO) additional proficiency training. During the underway period, Nimitz' Air Department assisted with 621 arrested landings to support FRSCQ. The flight deck crew also conducted another 84 traps to support additional LSO proficiency training and VX-23's lateral asymmetry testing. Aside from providing replacement pilots to the fleet, Nimitz also served as a platform for VX-23 to test the capabilities of the F/A-18 E/F's lateral asymmetry. Nimitz and her embarked squadrons took advantage of the time at sea to get some additional proficiency training for their landing safety officers, as well.

The ship had by then returned to full operational status after a six-month pierside Planned Incremental Availability, completed its Command Assessment of Readiness and Training - Phase II and was preparing for its Tailored Ship's Training Availabilities - Phases I, II and III and Final Evaluation Problem in support of the Navy's Fleet Response Program.

On November 20, 2004, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) returned to Naval Air Station North Island after 23 days at sea completing Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) phases I, II and III, and Final Evaluation Period (FEP), thus becoming, after only three months, "emergency surge" deployable in accordance with the Navy's Fleet Response Plan since returning to full operational status after a six-month pierside Planned Incremental Availability. By achieving this, USS Nimitz, became the first carrier in the Pacific to fully go through this one at sea period that encompasses both TSTA and FEP.

With USS Princeton (CG 59), USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Higgins (DDG 76) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, USS Nimitz (CVN 68), as part of Carrier Strike Group 11 completed on Nov. 20, 2004 its first group sail off the coast of Southern California.

The USS Nimitz/Carrier Air Wing 11 team deployed 11 March 2005 to begin its Joint Task Force Exercise. The exercise was the final step in preparing the Nimitz Strike Group for deployment. USS Nimitz (CVN 68) arrived at Naval Air Station North Island March 24 after completing Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 05-03 off the coast of Southern California with Carrier Strike Group 11. The Nimitz Strike Group was then certified as 'ready for deployment.'

USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) deployed from San Diego May 7, 2005 to conduct operations in the Central and Western Pacific. The ships supported the global war on terrorism with joint and combined operations and carry out other assignments as directed.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68) departed Hong Kong June 7 after a four-day port visit, to resume its deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. Nimitz departed Port Kelang, Malaysia, July 4 after a four-day port visit to resume its deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. USS Nimitz (CVN 68) anchored at the Kingdom of Bahrain, an island nation in the Persian Gulf, Aug. 9-14. The port visit afforded the Sailors and Marines of Carrier Strike Group 11 an opportunity to relax after more than a month at sea. Nimitz deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO). MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

USS Nimitz (CVN 68), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 and the fast combat support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10) made a visit to the "land down under" Oct. 7-12 when the ships pulled into Fremantle, Western Australia. The Australian visit was eagerly anticipated by the 4,600 Sailors and Marines who had spent the previous 80 days patrolling the hot waters of the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

USS Nimitz Strike Group returned from deployment, to homeport San Diego, on November 8, 2005.

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