USS Nimitz (CVN-68)

Nimitz underway off San Diego in 2009. US Navy photo.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

The USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is the lead ship of her class, and one of the first supercarriers. Nimitz was laid down in 1968, and commissioned in 1975. She was based in Norfolk, Virginia, until 1987, when Nimitz was transferred to the American West Coast. In May, 1981, a crash during a night landing led to President Reagan starting the Zero-Tolerance drug policy after some of Nimitz' deceased crew were found to have traces of marijuana in their blood. Two of Nimitz's F-14s were engaged in the Gulf of Sidra Incident later in 1981, shooting down two Su-22s during a freedom of navigation exercise on 19 August. After her transfer to the Pacific, Nimitz provided security for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, and was sent to the Arabian Sea to protect Kuwaiti tankers during the Tanker War. Nimitz missed out on Desert Storm, deploying to the Gulf in late February, but has returned several times, including for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has made deployments in support of operations in Afghanistan. Designed with a lifespan of fifty years, Nimitz is expected to be replaced with the new USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), probably between 2022 and 2025.

Bonus Photos

Nimitz' chaplain, Lt.Cdr. Bynum, passing out happy face sponge balls to students at the CSI High School for the Deaf in Chennai, India. Nimitz was visiting India in 2007 to improve relations. US Navy photo.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Nimitz was christened by Catherine Nimitz Lay: the daughter of her namesake, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz.