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Nimitz Ready for Combat

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070523-01
Release Date: 5/23/2007 7:39:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (AW) Emily Stroia, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) completed their final evolution for combat readiness April 13.

Sailors from Nimitz’s Combat Systems Seven (CS-7) Division spent more than 20 hours loading 16 NATO Sea Sparrow missiles and 42 Rolling Airframe missiles (RAM) into their launchers.

“Our division breaks up into teams which cover the flight deck, crane operations, RAM, and NATO,” said Chief Fire Controlman Dan Slaght (SW/AW), CS-7’s leading chief petty officer.

Once the missiles are on the flight deck, they are pushed to their places. Then the crane operators drop them to the launchers where the casing is opened. The missiles are then moved around, picked up and loaded into their launchers.

Nimitz has two NATO Sea Sparrow launchers which hold eight missiles and two RAM launchers which hold 21 missiles.

“We spend two weeks prior to the actual load-down doing maintenance checks on the launchers, ensuring that they move and work,” said Slaght.

The NATO Sea Sparrow missile weighs approximately 585 pounds out of the canister and 900 pounds in the canister. The RAM weighs approximately 200 pounds. They are used primarily for air-to-air defense; meaning they are launched towards aircraft or another enemy missile.

“For example, if an enemy shoots, then we use the RAM and NATO Sea Sparrow missile[s] to shoot down that missile,” said Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Vincent Vetsch. “Two missiles can do a great deal of damage and is more than enough to take any missile coming in.”

According to Slaght and Vetsch the missiles are proven to work and are reliable sources of defense.

Commanded by Capt. Mike Manazir, Nimitz is the flagship for commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, and is currently deployed in support of operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

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