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Nimitz Crew, Tigers Depart Hawaii, Set Sail for Home

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070926-43
Release Date: 9/26/2007 7:01:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sarah E. Bitter, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

USS Nimitz, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines welcomed family and friends aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) for Tiger Cruise 2007 as the ship departed Naval Station Hawaii Sept. 24 following a two-day port visit.

The Nimitz crew brought 1,295 special guests aboard for their last stretch of their six-month deployment. Tigers will eat, sleep and experience shipboard life firsthand.

According to the Nimitz Tiger Cruise coordinator, Lt. Cmdr. Mike Salka, Tiger Cruise highlights include air power and sea power demonstrations; a refueling-at-sea evolution, weapons demonstrations; technical briefings; an EOD demonstration; ship tours and a crew member and Tiger talent show.

“The best part of Tiger Cruise is sharing the experience at sea aboard a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with family and friends,” said Salka. “My father is a guest for Tiger Cruise. I am proud to show him the fruits of his labors by raising me. It is also nice to see everyone have the opportunity to share this experience with the people they care about.”

A Sailor and her Tigers agree that the cruise is the chance of a lifetime.

“I think that it is a unique opportunity for them to get a glimpse of what we do every day,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate (AW) Shantelle Butche. “I think that they will be able to better appreciate the sacrifices that we make day in and day out while we our serving our country.”

While deployed, Nimitz and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 supported Operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, flying more than 8,240 hours in direct support of both missions. Additionally, Nimitz made history as the first American aircraft carrier to make a port visit to India when the ship joined USS Pinckney (DDG 91) for a port visit to Chennai, India, over the Fourth of July.

Nimitz is the flagship for Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11. Commanded by Rear Adm. Terry Blake, the Nimitz CSG also includes embarked CVW-11; embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 with guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), guided-missile destroyers USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91) as well as the “Scorpions” of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49, “Easy Riders” of HSL-37 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Detachment 3.

CVW-11’s squadrons include “Tophatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, “Black Aces” of VFA-41, “Sunliners” of VFA-81, “Wallbangers” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron 117, “Red Devils” of Marine Corps Strike Fighter Squadron 232, “Black Ravens” of Electronic Warfare Squadron 135, “Providers” of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron 30 and the “Indians” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6.



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