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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

USS NIMITZ   (CVAN-68)
(later CVN-68)



Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Mike - Tango - Zulu

CLASS - NIMITZ
Displacement 91,300 Tons, Dimensions, 1088' (oa) x 134' x 37' 8" (Max)
Armament 3 Sea Sparrow-SAM, Starting with CVAN-70 4 20mm CIWS, 90 Aircraft.
Armor, Unknown.
Machinery, 260,000 SHP; 2 Westinghouse (A4W) Reactors Driving Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 35+ Knots, Crew 5617.

Operational and Building Data

Built by Newport News. Laid down 22 June 1968, launched 13 May 1972, commissioned 3 May 1975.
Ordered as an Attack Aircraft Carrier (Nuclear Propulsion) (CVAN). Redesignated as a Multi-Purpose Carrier (Nuclear Propulsion) (CVN) 30 June 1975 and subsequently modified to operate ASW aircraft.

Major refits 6/83 to 9/84 and 1993-1994. RCOH at Newport News 1998-2001.

Status:   Active, In Commission. Homeported at Naval Station Everett, WA.


Click On Image 
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
Namesake
FADM Nimitz
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CVN-68 is named after Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz, USN, (1885-1966).

Following the destructive 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Nimitz took over the Pacific Fleet. With the rank of Admiral, and Fleet Admiral after December 1944, he commanded American forces during their long advance across the Pacific to full victory in August 1945.

Fleet Admiral Nimitz was Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), 15 December 1945-15 December 1947.

NHC
(Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, # 80-G-K-9344)
Construction

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"(NEW1) NEWPORT NEWS, VA. MAY 13[,1972]—NIMITZ CHRISTENED—A crowd of 4,000 witnessed the flotation launching of the U.S.S. Nimitz, the nation's second nuclear attack aircraft carrier, here Saturday. (AP WIREPHOTO)(geo71200bk) 1972"

Ron Reeves

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Three pictures taken on Saturday, 13 May 1972. Nimitz (CVAN-68) being moved to her outfitting pier at Newport News Shipbuilding after christening.

S. Dale Hargrave

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Christening cachet signed by Mrs. James T. (Catherine Nimitz) Lay, eldest daughter of Admiral Nimitz and ship's sponsor, and Rep. George Mahon of Texas, principal speaker at the christening ceremony.

S. Dale Hargrave

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Nimitz at the Newport News outfitting pier, probably in 1974.

S. Dale Hargrave

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Hampton Roads, Virginia. A quarter starboard bow view underway during builder's trials.

©  Joseph M. Radigan,
MACM, USN, Ret. 

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Nimitz during builder's trial, Hampton Roads, 1 March 1975. A bow view of the Nuclear Powered Attack Aircraft Carrier Nimitz (CVAN 68), underway.

©  Joseph M. Radigan,
MACM, USN, Ret.
CVAN-68 Nimitz
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"The world's largest warship, USS Nimitz (CVN-68) underway during her sea trials in March 1975." From the NAVSEA Journal.

Bob Bush
1975 — 2000
CVAN-68 Nimitz
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63k Commissioning Booklet cover. Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, May 3, 1975. Jerry and Deb
CVAN-68 Nimitz
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713k A 1975 issue of "Proceedings" showing very early photos of USS Nimitz. George Klos
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"Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier Nimitz." (From a Russian publication).

This drawing shows Nimitz as built.

Alex Tatchin
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21k Very small image of Nimitz underway. USN
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Undated pic (probably 1975–83) of an A-6 Intruder about to be launched from USS Nimitz's starboard catapult. Photo USN.

Robert Hurst
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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during a training exercise with USS Mount Baker (AE-34) off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, possibly during the carrier's shakedown cruise, July 16 – August 14, 1975. US Navy photo.

Robert Hurst
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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) being assisted by tugs to her home berth, September 24, 1975 after a deployment to the North Atlantic with Nuclear Task Force (TF) 75, which comprised the guided missile cruiser USS South Carolina (CGN-37) and the attack submarine Seahorse (SSN-669).

Robert Hurst
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125k Good overhead image, showing the overall details of the Nimitz-class. Picture taken sometime in 1975-1977, with Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) aboard. USN
CVAN-68 Nimitz
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"The Navy's second nuclear task force is shown off the Virginia Capes. USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is escorted by the nuclear-powered cruisers USS California (CGN-36) and USS South Carolina (CGN-37)." From the NAVSEA Journal.

This photo was possibly taken in 1975.

Bob Bush

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This is a picture of the Nimitz Task Group from 1976 with South Carolina (CGN-37) (top), Nimitz (CVN-68), and California (CGN-36).

Michael Boyd,
USS California

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A series of six photos taken during the first USS Nimitz (CVN-68) / Carrier Air Wing 8 Med Cruise, 7 July 1976–7 February 1977. (See also 1976–1977 Deployment.)

Left to right: RA-5C Vigilante, RVAH-9 "Hoot Owls;" E-2B Hawkeye, VAW-116 "Sun Kings;" and F-4J Phantom II, VMFA-333 "Shamrocks."

Photos by Michael J. Kubat, CDR, USN, Ret.

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F-4J Phantom II, VF-74 "Be-Devilers."


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F-4J Phantom II, VMFA-333 "Shamrocks."


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EA-6B Prowler, VAQ-130 "Zappers" (closest to camera); A-7E Corsair II, VA-82 "Marauders;" A-6E Intruder, VA-35 "Black Panthers."


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Left: A-7E Corsair IIs, VA-82 "Marauders" and VA-86 "Sidewinders." Right: F-4J Phantom IIs, VMFA-333 "Shamrocks" and VF-74 "Be-Devilers."


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EA-6B Prowlers, VAQ-130 "Zappers" (foreground); A-6E Intruders, VA-35 "Black Panthers" (middle distance); and F-4J Phantom IIs, VMFA-333 "Shamrocks" and VF-74 "Be-Devilers" (background), with A-7E Corsair IIs (left background).


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An aerial starboard bow view of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) underway in the Mediterranean Sea in October 1976, during Exercise Display Determination. US Navy photo by PH2 Homedale (DVIC id: DNSC8501948).

Defense Visual Information Center

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Concord (AFS-5), Milwaukee (AOR-2) and Nimitz (CVN-68) during an underway replenishment sometime in 1976–1977, place unknown.

Jerrod W. Brown SM1 (SW) USN Ret.
USS Milwaukee 1980-84

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An image taken aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) during her 1976–1977 Med cruise, probably in winter.

Photo by Bob Royes

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Crewmen aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) preparing A-6E Intruder BuNo 157019 (VA-35 "Black Panthers") for launching, possibly sometime in 1977–79. This image graphically illustrates the bustle of the carrier flight deck. USN photo.

Robert Hurst

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) sometime during her second Med deployment, December 1, 1977 – July 20, 1978. Note F-14A Tomcats from VF-41 "Black Aces" vice F-4J Phantom II's.

The original is a 35mm slide (ASA 64).

Michael J. Kubat, CDR, USN, Ret.

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This photo taken during the 1977–1978 deployment, or shortly before or after, shows one F-14A Tomcat from each embarked squadron (VF-84 "Jolly Rogers," foreground, and VF-41 "Black Aces") escorting a British Vulcan.

USS Nimitz OP Division,
via Michael J. Kubat, CDR, USN, Ret.

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) underway with Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8), sometime in 1977–1983.

Photo from the Charleston Naval Shipyard photo lab, now in the collection of Mr. Palmer Olliff.

Palmer Olliff, via Robert Hall

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Aerial bow view of USS Nimitz (CVN-68), right, and the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (R09) tied up at piers at Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia, between 14 and 21 August 1978.

NS026896: U.S. Navy photo, available from DefenseImagery.mil (id: DN-SC-87-08414).

NS026896a: U.S. Navy photo, available from DefenseImagery.mil (id: DN-SC-87-08415).

NS026896b: Photo source unknown.

Note: Apparently the original U.S. Navy caption identified the British carrier, erroneously, as HMS Hermes (R12). This has been corrected. However, the pictures are dated 26 June 1987, which is utterly wrong: (1) on the British side, Ark Royal was decommissioned on 4 December 1978, sold in 1980 and scrapped; Hermes was decommissioned to reserve on 12 April 1984 and sold to India in 1986; (2) on the American side, on the alleged date Nimitz was off South America, enroute to Bremerton, Wash., her new homeport, had already been fitted with Phalanx CIWS and Mk-29 NATO Sea Sparrow missile launchers, and the catapult bridle catcher on the forward end of the angled deck had been removed.

Robert Hurst

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An aerial starboard view of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) underway in the Mediterranean Sea, November 1979, with two A-7E Corsair II aircraft from Light Attack Squadron 82 (VA-82, "Marauders") in flight above the ship. US Navy photo by PH2 Inks.

Alex Tatchin

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on 22 Jan 1980 shortly after arriving on Gonzo Station in the Indian Ocean. Photographed from USS California (CGN-36).

Photo by Michael Boyd, STG-2(SW), USS California, 1980

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Background: a Soviet Kashin-class DDG that was shadowing Nimitz while a practice airshow was being conducted in March 1980.

Foreground: F-14 Tomcats assigned to the "Black Aces" of VF-41 (left) and the "Jolly Rogers" of VF-84.

Photo by Michael Boyd, STG-2(SW), USS California, 1980

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A starboard view of the island structure and amidships section of USS Nimitz (CVN-68), underway in the Indian Ocean, March 15, 1980.

Nimitz' 3rd deployment to the Mediterranean began September 10, 1979. As tension rose after Iranian "students" seized the US Embassy on November 4, the carrier was dispatched to strengthen the US naval presence in the Indian Ocean area. On April 24, 1980 eight RH-53D helicopters departed the ship to execute Operation Evening Light/Eagle Claw, an attempt to rescue the hostages, which had to be aborted when the number of operational helicopters fell below the minimum needed, through some mechanical problems and accidents.

During this deployment, Nimitz operated 144 continuous days at sea, and her homecoming on May 26, 1980 was, at the time, the largest given to any carrier battle group returning to the US since the end of World War II.

US Navy photo by PH1 David MacLean (DVIC id.: DNSC8405037).

Defense Visual Information Center
USS Nimitz (CVN-68
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Crewmen aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68) position a Douglas EA-3B Skywarrior of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1, Det. B, "World Watchers," prior to launch. Probably this picture was taken during the carrier's 10 September 1979–26 May 1980 deployment to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. US Navy photo.

Robert Hurst

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) anchors for a port visit to Portsmouth, England, September 1980.

Photo by PH2 Bruce M. Gray.

Bruce M. Gray

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) anchors for a port visit to Wilhelmshaven, Germany, 1 October 1980.

Photo by PH2 Bruce M. Gray.

Bruce M. Gray

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On May 15, 1981 Nimitz departed Norfolk for the final phases of her workup schedule for an upcoming Med Cruise. On the night of May 25 and EA-6B Prowler attempting to land struck a helicopter, then hit another aircraft and a tow tractor. A fuel fire erupted and, although fire-fighting systems reacted quickly, four missile warheads detonated. Fourteen crewmen were killed and 45 injured, three aircraft destroyed and nine damaged.

The ship is seen returning to port, May 28, for repairs. She returned to sea less than 48 hours later to complete her training schedule.

US Navy photo by PH1 Ken Brewer (DVIC id.: DNSC8203496).

Defense Visual Information Center

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) anchors for a port visit to Tunis, Tunisia, August 1981.

Photo by PH1 Bruce M. Gray.

Bruce M. Gray

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Aerial stern view of (left to right) the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers USS Mississippi (CGN-40) and USS Texas (CGN-39), and the guided missile cruiser USS Biddle (CG-34), underway in the Mediterranean Sea, August 1981.

On August 19, 1981 two F-14A Tomcats from VF-41 "Black Aces," based on Nimitz, used Sidewinder missiles to shoot down two Lybian, Soviet-built SU-22 Fitters over the Gulf of Sidra, after one of the Lybian jets fired an Atoll heat-seeking missile. This incident marked the first Navy air combat confrontation since the Vietnam War and the first for the F-14A Tomcat.

US Navy photo by PH3 Cruz (DVIC id.: DNSC8501964).

Defense Visual Information Center

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CAPT Batzler, CO USS Nimitz (CVN-68), puts the finishing touches on the Golden Anchor in honor of the Nimitz meeting reenlistment goals, about 1982.

Photo by PH1 Bruce M. Gray.

Bruce M. Gray
CVN-68 Nimitz
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149k View of the island and a Hawkeye on the Nimitz, 1982. Photo by Mario Mederos of HMM-263 at the time. Pete Harlem
CVN-68 Nimitz
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134k An aerial port view of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) underway, sometime in 1982. An SH-3 Sea King helicopter of Anti-submarine Squadron Nine (HS-9) is in flight above the ship. US Navy photo (DVIC id: DN-SC-85-01951). Defense Visual Information Center
CVN-68 Nimitz
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150k An elevated port quarter view of U.S. Navy nuclear-powered ships underway off the Virginia Capes, July 13, 1982. They are, left to right, USS Nimitz (CVN-68), USS South Carolina (CGN-37), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), USS Virginia (CGN-38), and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). US Navy photo (DVIC id: DN-SC-87-01141). Defense Visual Information Center
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119k An aerial starboard view of USS Nimitz (CVN-68) underway while participating in a fire-power demonstration during a Colombian air show, November 1982. US Navy photo by PHAN Russ (DVIC id: DN-SC-85-01952). Defense Visual Information Center

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Underway in the 1980s.

Alex Tatchin
CVAN-68 Nimitz
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Photo of USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in a high-speed turn, believed to have been taken in the mid-1980s.

Edgar Dale Surber, via Fred Willshaw

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and part of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8: four A-6E Intruders, two S-3A Vikings, six F-14A Tomcats, and four A-7E Corsairs. Second half of 1984.

Newport News Shipbuilding photo.

S. Dale Hargrave

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Night operations aboard USS Nimitz (CVN-68), second half of 1984.

Newport News Shipbuilding photo.

S. Dale Hargrave
CVN-68 Nimitz
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Top to bottom: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), USS Flatley (FFG-21), and USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in the Mediterranean, spring 1985.

Official US Navy photo.

Wendell Royce McLaughlin Jr
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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) at anchor off Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain, summer 1985.

Air Wing was Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, tail code "AJ," made up of the following squadrons:

  • VF-41 "Black Aces" and VF-84 "Jolly Rogers," equipped with F-14A Tomcats.
  • VA-82 "Marauders" and VA-86 "Sidewinders," with A-7E Corsair IIs.
  • VA-35 "Black Panthers," with A-6E and KA-6D Intruders.
  • VAW-124 "Bear Aces," with E-2C Hawkeyes.
  • VAQ-138 "Yellow Jackets," with EA-6B Prowlers.
  • HS-9 "Sea Griffins," with SH-3H Sea Kings.
  • VS-24 "Scouts," with S-3A Vikings.
Frédéric van Rijckevorsel
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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) visited Wilhelmshaven, Germany, in late September 1986, shortly before shifting to the Pacific Fleet. Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8), tail code "AJ," was aboard.

Note two Mk-29 NATO Sea Sparrow missile launchers and three Mk-15 Mod.1 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS), installed during the 1983–1984 complex overhaul.

Photos by Wolfgang Hechler
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An elevated beam view of the aircraft carriers (front to back) USS America (CV-66), USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) moored at piers No. 11 and 12, Naval Station Norfolk, VA, sometime between October 18th and 26th, 1985.

America returned from Exercise Ocean Safari on 9 October, and Nassau (LHA-4), readily visible in the background, on 12 October. John F. Kennedy arrived in Norfolk on 18 October, after post-overhaul trials and a visit to Fort Lauderdale, FL. Nimitz arrived from the Med on 4 October. Dwight D. Eisenhower had returned from the Caribbean on 22 August and began a COH at Newport News on 26 October.

U.S. Navy photo, available from DefenseImagery.mil as # DN-SC-86-02405.

Robert M. Cieri

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An aerial port view of (fore to back) the guided missile destroyer USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23), the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the replenishment oiler USS Kalamazoo (AOR-6), and the guided missile cruiser USS Josephus Daniels (CG-27) underway. The ships were part of Carrier Group Eight. Photo by PH1 R. Beno, February 5, 1987 available from the Defense Visual Information Center, id.: DN-SC-87-03840.

Bill Gonyo

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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) underway, date (possibly first half of the 1990s) and location unknown.

Robert Hurst
CVN-68 Nimitz
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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and embarked Carrier Air Wing 9 (CVW-9) did not take part in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, after Iraqi tanks and troops poured across the borders from Iraq into Kuwait in August 1990, but deployed to WestPac, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, 25 February–24 August 1991. (Note that CVW-9 did not include any A-7 Corsair II squadron.)

Tommy Trampp
CVN-68 Nimitz
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CVN-68 Nimitz
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USS Nimitz (CVN-68) entered drydock at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) on January 29, 1994. Ex-submarine tender Proteus (IX 518, ex-AS 19) became her berthing, messing and office barge. As Nimitz was the first ship to use Proteus in this fashion, the latter required extensive conversion work to make her habitable.

Following the flooding of the dock, August 20–21, 1994 Nimitz moored to Pier B at PSNS, as shown here.

Stephen Renouard

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Mid-late 1990s.

Alex Tatchin

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Underway in the mid-late 1990s.

Alex Tatchin

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In early March 1996, while on a scheduled six-month deployment to the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific regions, USS Nimitz (CVN-68), under the command of CAPT Alfred G. Harms, was ordered to the waters near Taiwan, where tension was building over Chinese military exercises and missile tests just off Taiwan. Nimitz joined the USS Independence (CV-62) Carrier Battle Group, repositioned from Okinawa to the east coast of Taiwan.

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Ronald Norwood.

USN

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The forward-deployed aircraft carriers USS Nimitz (CVN-68), left, and USS Independence (CV-62), center, perform an underway turn-over Sept. 25, 1997, while steaming off the coast of Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Chris Ware. [970925-N-4778W-117].

USN

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Three-photo series of USS Nimitz (CVN 68), with her full air wing, at sea near the Persian Gulf, October 12, 1997. The carrier would operate in the Gulf to enforce United Nations sanctions against Iraq by patrolling the "No-Fly" zone during Operation Southern Watch. The Nimitz Battle Group was directed to the Gulf early by the Secretary of Defense after Iraqi planes breached the zone several times in the previous week.

U.S. Navy photos by PH2 Matthew J. Magee.

Joe Brunner, RMCM, USN, Ret.,
via Joseph M. Radigan, MACM, USN, Ret.

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(See above). (Photo # 971012-N-0000M-002).

USN

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(See above). (Photo # 971012-N-0000M-003).

USN

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November 23, 1997 — The aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) (left) comes alongside USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in the Arabian Gulf. With both carriers and their embarked air wings in the Gulf, the U.S. had some 100 strike aircraft operating in the region. The George Washington had joined Nimitz in support of Operation Southern Watch, enforcing the UN "No-Fly Zone" over southern Iraq. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Robert Catalano. [971123-N-0210C-003].

USN

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December 15, 1997 — The guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73) and the submarine USS Annapolis (SSN-760) steam alongside the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) as the sun rises on another day in the North Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Matthew J. Magee. [971215-N-9785M-462].

Bernard A. Cardali
Miscellany

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USS Nimitz and her embarked Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8; tail code "AJ") played a key role in "The Final Countdown," a 1980 science-fiction movie (starring Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, James Farentino and Katharine Ross; directed by Don Taylor).

Although the action supposedly takes place in the Pacific, near Pearl Harbor, Nimitz was actually assigned to the Atlantic Fleet at the time. The carrier seen passing the Arizona Memorial in the closing scenes is, in fact, USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).

Poster courtesy of Spectre Publishing

For more information about this ship, see:

USS NIMITZ CVAN-68 History
View This Vessels
DANFS History Entry
(Located On The Naval Historical Center Website.)
Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Date:  
Place:  
Contact:  
Address:  
Phone:  
E-mail:  
Web site: USS Nimitz (CVN-68) Association
Remarks:  

Related Links
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
Official USS Nimitz (CVN-68) web site
USS Nimitz (CVN-68) Association
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Last update: 26 December 2013