Arabian Sea - The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) has performed a vital role in Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) since July 25, having launched 1,322 sorties and dropping 903 pieces of ordnance in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
Throughout more than three months of operations in the region, the ship and its crew have worked hard supporting the mission by building 1,112 pieces of ordnance and working day and night on the flight deck. It's a team effort by the entire crew, air wing and embarked staffs aboard the ship.
"Carrier Strike Group 11, (Destroyer Squadron) DESRON-9, Nimitz, the air wings... all of us work together very closely," said Capt. Michael Spencer commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11. "The teamwork that we have here is really amazing to see. The enthusiasm throughout the operation is inspiring to watch. It's a pleasure to work with them every day."
Thanks to the hard work of each individual aboard, whether on the flight desk or inside the skin of the ship, Nimitz's time in the Arabian Gulf has been a successful one, according to Spencer.
"We really have done some amazing things," said Spencer. "When it's over, I will look back fondly at how well this team worked together and how effective we were when we were over here."
It takes an immense amount of provisions to sustain the crew while performing in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. So far, the Nimitz crew has received more than 7,597 pallets of supplies. Of these provisions, the hungry Marines and Sailors have consumed more than 12,000 pounds of hamburgers, 69,000 cookies and washed it all down with over 16,000 gallons of milk.
Hungry not just for food but also for a taste of home, the team has received 1,462 pallets of mail. Weighing in at over 160,820 pounds, the deliveries consist of care packages and letters from friends and families, boosting the morale of the crew aboard.
While in the region, Nimitz Medical Department has treated 3,071 Sailors and Marines, and they also performed 40 surgeries on board. Despite the department's busy schedule, they still found time to get 436 Sailors CPR certified.
The crew spent time in Bahrain and Dubai during port visits. For these ports, the Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department sold approximately 1,400 tour tickets to the Sailors and Marines onboard. These tours included adventures such as riding camels in the desert, experiencing the world's fastest roller coaster and gazing out the window of the tallest building in the world at 2,722 feet. The crew took advantage of the hotel services coordinated through MWR, booking an estimated 2,000 hotel rooms while in the two ports.
Sailors and Marines have taken part in 13 volunteer events during their time in the region helping those in need. This outreach included helping local schools, as well as providing assistance to both a dog kennel and a horse farm.
"Operating in this region in the middle of summer presented some extreme challenges, but every single member of the crew not only stepped up but exceled beyond any expectation I could have set," CVW-11 Command Master Chief Petty Officer Brian Happli. "I feel fortunate to be part of such a resilient crew while carrying out our role in Operation Inherent Resolve. We would not be a successful air wing without the tremendous support we receive from the entire Strike Group 11 team. I know the same level of enthusiasm and commitment to excellence that has been demonstrated since we left San Diego will continue as we move forward in this deployment."
Sailors and Marines are continuing to focus on the mission and what they must accomplish going forward.
"The work isn't over," said Happli.
As the days continue to pass and the role for Nimitz CSG evolves, the focus for the crew remains the same: to safely and efficiently perform each task in accordance to their unyielding commitment to the mission.
Nimitz deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to provide maritime security and support Operation Inherent Resolve. While in this region, the ship and strike group have conducted strike missions to annihilate Islamic State group as well as operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation and maintain the free flow of commerce.