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USS Nimitz

USS Nimitz



USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the lead ship of the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, was commissioned in 1975 and is 1,092 feet long and towers some 20 stories above the waterline.

As a self-contained city afloat of more than 5,000 Sailors and Marines with the embarked air wing and staff, USS Nimitz has virtually the same amenities as any American city with a comparable population. It has a newspaper, television station, fire department, paramedics, police department, library, recycling center, jail, 50-bed hospital with an intensive care unit, two general stores, laundries, barbershops and a post office with its own ZIP code. Without the embarked air wing and staff, Nimitz’s population is approximately 3,000 Sailors.

USS Nimitz is named after Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz (February 24, 1885 —February 20, 1966), a five-star admiral in the United States Navy. He held the dual command of Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, for U.S. naval forces and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, for U.S. and Allied air, land and sea forces during World War II. He was the leading U.S. Navy authority on submarines, as well as Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation in 1939. He served as Chief of Naval Operations from 1945 until 1947. He was the United States’ last surviving Fleet Admiral.

The mission of USS Nimitz and embarked air wing is to conduct sustained combat air operations while deployed in the global arena. When embarked, the air wing consists of 10 squadrons. Attached aircraft are the F/A-18C Hornet, F/A-18E and F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, E-2C Hawkeye, MH-60R Sea Hawk, MH-60S Sea Hawk and C-2 Greyhound.

The air wing can engage enemy aircraft, ships, submarines and land targets, or lay mines hundreds of miles from the ship. Nimitz’s aircraft are used to conduct strikes, support land battles, protect the strike group or other friendly ships, and implement a sea or air blockade.

The air wing provides a visible presence to demonstrate American power and resolve in a crisis. Nimitz operates as the flagship of Carrier Strike Group Eleven, which is commanded by a flag officer aboard Nimitz and consisting of two cruisers and six destroyers.

USS Nimitz’s two nuclear reactors give it virtually unlimited range and endurance with a top speed in excess of 30 knots. The ship’s four catapults and four arresting gear engines enable her to launch and recover aircraft rapidly and simultaneously.

Nimitz carries approximately 3 million gallons of fuel for aircraft and escorts, and enough weapons and stores for extended operations without replenishment. Nimitz also has extensive repair capabilities, including a fully equipped Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department that includes a micro- miniature electronics repair shop and numerous ship repairshops.

For defense, in addition to the air wing and accompanying vessels, Nimitz has NATO Sea Sparrow and Rolling Airframe Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, the Phalanx Close-in Weapons System (an extreme rapid-firing 20 mm gun) for cruise missile defense and the SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System.


  • Length of flight deck: 1,092 feet
  • Width of flight deck: 252 feet
  • Height keel to mast: 23 stories
  • Area of flight deck: 4.5 acres
  • Weight of carrier: 97,000 tons
  • Propulsion system type: Nuclear reactor
  • Number of reactors: 2
  • Maximum speed: More than 30 knots
  • Number of screws: 4 (5 blades each)
  • Weight of screws: 66,200 pounds each
  • Number of catapults: 4
  • Number of aircraft elevators: 4
  • Size of air wing: 80 tactical aircraft

What is an ombudsman?

When a spouse or parent has a question or concern, they can contact the ship’s ombudsman team. Selected by the commanding officer, Nimitz ombudsmen are spouses of members of Nimitz’s crew who voluntarily serve as official liaisons between the command and its families.

For a spouse or parent of a Nimitz Sailor, it is important to get acquainted with the ombudsman team. You are encouraged to call 360-340-7040 or email them at ussnimitzombudsman@yahoo.com with any concerns you may have. They are “on call” 24 hours a day for emergencies. Non-emergency calls are taken from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. daily.

The ombudsman team serves as information and referral specialists, recommending community organizations and military offices such as Family Service Centers, chaplain’s office, medical treatment facilities, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, American Red Cross and legal assistance offices.

Are you new to Nimitz, or have you moved?

It is important if you have a change of address, phone number or email address, even if temporary, that you contact the Nimitz ombudsman team. If they do not have the correct information, they may be unable to contact you with command information. If you are new to Nimitz be sure to contact your ombudsman team, they have information to help you in your transition to Nimitz.


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