Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guardians of the flight deck: Crash and Salvage

By ABHAN Jonathon D’araujo

I always knew I was going to serve, I just didn't know when. I was studying fire science in school, but I was kind of slacking off. I remember being on YouTube looking at all of these crash and salvage videos. I started emailing the guy who had uploaded them. It turned out he was in crash and salvage back in the 70s. He told me all about their jobs and the schools they can attend. I emailed a couple other Aviation Boatswain's Mates (Handling)., and everything I heard about ABH was all positive. I knew that's what I wanted to do. ABHs are the only ones who have fire trucks and I would be getting hands-on firefighting training.

When I first got to the ship three years ago, I remember thinking, "this place is huge!" I didn't think I'd ever be able to see everything around the ship.  Now if you ask me where anything is, I can tell you where it is and take you right to it in less than two minutes. The ship seems so small now.

People always associate the Navy with the aircraft carriers, and it's a surreal feeling sometimes. Living on an aircraft carrier is not at all like living at home. Out to sea, our roof is the flight deck so when planes land you hear it -- and when they turn the planes on, you definitely hear it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Volunteering in Cambodia

by HM1 (SW/AW) Jonna Obermiller

For as far back as I can remember I’ve had a passion for the dental field, it probably stemmed from the fact that my uncle was a dental lab technician in the Navy. I remember being in his lab playing with wax on the lathe and in his drawers of plastic teeth.

I joined the Navy a little over 13 years ago as a deck seaman. I was a striker and knew I wanted to be a dental  tech. At the time we had two separate ratings – DT (dental technician) and HM (hospital corpsman).  When the two ratings merged I had the NEC 8752 (basic lab technician) and now 8708 (dental hygienist), so I’ve always worked in dental.

Shortly after the ship moved to Washington I was looking for a way to get involved in the community doing something that I was passionate about. I found an organization called Medical Teams International that has mobile dental units that provide free dental care to low income and the homeless in the Seattle area. This became the perfect volunteer opportunity for me. I made good friends, later learning about the international volunteer opportunities the organization offered and before I knew it I was planning my first trip to Cambodia with MTI.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

JEA: This is our ship

AO2 Beauchamp addresses USS NIMITZ Junior Enlisted
By Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class William Beauchamp,
USS NIMITZ (CVN 68) Junior Enlisted Association President

When I was in high school I wanted to become a police officer. They always told me, “Join the military. Get a little bit of discipline.” You know, all that good stuff. When I came into the Navy, it was rough; I really couldn’t stand it. It was just so routine and there was just so much negative input from my divisions. It was hard for me to actually take the Navy seriously. Now, six years later, I’ve taken the lessons I’ve learned and look at things differently. There’s a purpose behind everything we do in the Navy, even something as little as cleaning a head and dusting an angle iron – there’s always a purpose for it. Of course it might be repetitive and redundant, but it’s necessary.

"There’s a purpose behind everything we do in the Navy..."
My goals when I joined the Navy were to better myself and to see the world, and since I’ve been in, I’ve accomplished both of those goals. Being out at sea and just meeting new people are probably my favorite things about the Navy, I love seeing that bond we develop as a work center. Usually while we’re in port, I just want to get the work done and go home, but when we’re out to sea it’s a different story. You develop relationships that you never thought you would with people you barely talked to, and of course, pulling into ports is a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One experience after another

By Operations Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Call, USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

This time last year I had just graduated boot camp and after a hiking trip with my wife, I was on a plane flying from North Carolina to San Diego. Not long after I arrived, Nimitz was on its way to Bremerton. During that time I was a Seaman in the Deck Department, which was cool because I was able to stand watch on the helm under instruction. It was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. 

I took control of the helm at the Washington - Oregon border. It was honestly a little intimidating since I was only supposed to be at the helm for 30 minutes, but two hours later I was still in control of the ship. It was really interesting because the water was really rough. To have the ship moving around that much was definitely not what I expected, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Just Keep Pushing: Strong Heart, Determination required for Nimitz Sailor to apply to Navy Diver program

By  Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Johnathan Villalobos, USS NIMITZ (CVN 68)

Being here in Bremerton has taught me a lot about why I am in the Navy. My father served, my grandfather served, but I also wanted to do something for my family. I would later find out that there was something more to this than I realized. 

I’m a non-nuclear Electrician’s Mate; we’re in the Engineering Department.  What’s happening now with the EM rate is that we basically only have the option to change rates, since they are phasing out our rate. Some people don’t want to convert, so they’ll just get out, but that isn’t an option for me.

I’m from San Diego, so I’ve been in the water my whole life. Doing underwater rigging or even a rescue that can return a loved-one to a family is something I want to do; Navy Diving is what I have to pursue. I loved the idea that you’re working with such a tight knit group of people. So I asked myself, “What can I do to get this done while Nimitz is in DPIA?” I can swim in the morning, swim in the afternoon, and go to the naval hospitals to work on getting my Navy Diving package together.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate: Flight Deck Warrior

By:  Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Tyson Collinson

Air department is the bread and butter of an Aircraft Carrier and Aviation Boatwain’s Mate (Handling) , or ABHs, are found on the Flight Deck (V-1 Division) and the Hangar Bay (V-3 Division).  I have a little experience in the Hangar Bay, but my home as an ABH will forever be found on the Flight Deck.

You may have seen the commercials, pictures, posters, and our rate in movies. We are called “skittles” on the Flight Deck of an aircraft carrier. The color of jersey we wear represents the title we hold. Yellow shirts are Aircraft Directors who direct, taxi and move aircraft. Blue jerseys are Tractor Drivers, Elevator Operators, and Plane Handlers. Red is Crash and Salvage and Maintenance (the flight deck fire fighting team).

Then there’s me, the one wearing a Blue Float Coat and a Yellow jersey, the Tractor King. I’m in charge of all Ground Support Equipment on the flight deck and help out wherever needed.

I’ve heard the statement, “you pick your rate you pick your fate,” numerous times when we are spread thin across the flight deck, continuously laboring and pulling tow bars or lugging around 35 lbs at minimum. We have no choice but to operate effectively on little sleep after meals eaten in 15 minutes or less. You’re waiting to hear “Final-Final” come over the 5-MC indicating that you’re coming to the end of a smooth 16-hour workday, but an aircraft comes in for recovery.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Intelligence Specialist: Looking for the bad guys

By Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) James Barbour, USS NIMITZ (CVN 68)

Intelligence Specialist, the name speaks for itself…or at least it should. However, when I tell people my rating, the response I receive is generally one of confusion. Confusion for them because they aren’t quite sure what my job entails; confusion for me because I’m not sure how to explain my job without saying too much.  I’ve done the job for roughly about three years now though, so I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can safely tread the line between OPSEC violator and helpful informant.

The main thing, even if the only thing, to take from this is that Intelligence Specialists work and we work well.  The mission of CVIC (Carrier Intelligence Center) while underway is to collect, disseminate, interpret and provide necessary information to warfare commanders by utilizing a multitude of sources and skill sets.  

During our 2009-2010 deployment, our work provided troops on the ground with vital data on possible IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).   CVIC collects data through all available sources and uses other means to verify the gathered data. When the location of the potential target is confirmed, strike analysts determine what type of weaponry would be best to neutralize the target and pass that information onto the ship’s Aviation Ordnancemen.  Once a weapon has been determined and strapped onto the jet, the pilots take-off to do their job. Once the pilots return, they come to CVIC so that we can verify it all.

With such a serious job, it’s funny that being a member of the Nimitz Honor Guard is how I spend my downtime. It’s a curricular activity that I find to be absolutely fulfilling because of what it means to the people you are performing for. Whether it’s a commissioning or a retirement ceremony, it’s a pivotal point in a shipmate’s career that you are being allowed to share with them and make special. I’ve done dozens of ceremonies since joining the military in September 2005 and I never get tired of that feeling I get while performing during military events.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Back on the water: Nimitz departs dry dock

BREMERTON, WASH -- After completing required out-of-the-water maintenance while in dry dock, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) moved from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility's Dry Dock 6 to Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton's Pier Delta Sept. 29.

After moving to Pier Delta, work aboard Nimitz will continue as the ship's Docking Planned Incremental Availability comes to a close. "We're not done yet," said Lt. Cmdr. Chuck O. Jones, the ship's maintenance manager and assistant DPIA coordinator. "The majority of the big industrial work is complete. Now we'll be restoring the ship back to operational status."

Most divisions aboard only have about ten percent of their workload left to complete.
"Normally an availability is 15 months long with eight to ten years in between," said Jones. "But because other ships are also scheduled for dry dock time relatively soon, the availability was shortened to about a year."

While in the dry dock, Nimitz received numerous refurbishments and upgrades. Some of the new upgrades consisted of a more efficient computer Local Area Network system, two new sponsons welded to hold close in weapons systems (CIWS), 15 new industrial dryers and one new industrial washer.

Moving the ship out of the dry dock is a complicated process. Nimitz' bridge was filled with personnel and watchstanders ensuring the ship moved safely out of Dry Dock 6 and over to Pier Delta.

"It was pretty complex, because there were so many watchstanders on the bridge," said Quartermaster 2nd Class Brittany N. Addair, one of Navigation department's watchstanders during the ship's transit. "Actually pulling out was the most complicated part of the process. We needed GPS and visual fixes to know where we were at all times so we didn't hit anything."

Nimitz was assisted by a series of tugboats during its transit out of the dry dock and over to the pier. The tugs are especially important pulling out of the dry dock because they can maneuver the ship in ways that the ship itself can't.

Since Nimitz entered the dry dock, Navigation department couldn't exercise their regular duties aboard the ship. "It was a refresher for most of us and a big change for the new guys," said Addair. "The tugs helped pull us out and turn us. I'm just ready to get out of the dry dock and work on becoming operational again."

"I spent a lot of DPIA grinding store rooms, painting decks, and preparing spaces for going underway," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Garrett L. Davis, one of the many members tiger teams who worked around the clock to grind, paint, and restore many areas around the ship. "I'm proud of what we've accomplished. I learned a lot and I feel that the work we've done really fits into the big picture of being in the yards."

While at Pier Delta, Nimitz will finish final maintenance begin to prepare to become operational and go underway again. "As more and more areas become completed on board, we'll have to clean up and make the ship look like a naval warship again," said Jones. "As DPIA comes to a close, we'll transfer from a maintenance period to a training period. Each division will train on how to conduct underway operations and test equipment. Eventually we'll conduct dock trials, a fast cruise and finally sea trials." 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nimitz conducts General Quarters training while in dry dock

BREMERTON, WASH (NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) conducted a General Quarters drill early morning Sept. 23 while in dry dock as part of move to shift from a maintenance-centric focus to one on operational readiness.

"We're at the important phase of transitioning from maintenance production to getting ready for our operational mission during our 2012 deployment," said Capt. Mike Donnelly, Nimitz' executive officer. "That's a step-by-step approach that we need to begin now. By deployment, we need to be fully mission capable, and by December, we need to be fully capable to support casualties underway."

Donnelly said Nimitz was in the early stages of mastering General Quarters, since as many as 1000 new personnel have come aboard since the ship entered dry dock in December 2010.

The purpose of the drill was to educate new personnel, refresh the proficiency of the veterans and ensure equipment worked properly.

"We have to dress out in four minutes or less," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate
(Handling) Airman Esther Gootee. "We have to put on the pants, rubber boots and jacket and make sure we have all of the proper equipment."

During General Quarters, many divisions and repair lockers conducted individual training sessions. Damage Controlman 3rd Class Martin Whitaker held training for boundarymen. "We focus on controlling and preventing the spread of the damage," he said. "The Sailors I taught received the training well. Participation is key, and the more you participate, the better the training is."

As the training pressed on, Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Daniel B. Bymer-Schultz and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Walter Zaldaña from Air department's V-3 division simulated overhauling an aircraft fire. "It was pretty much refresher training," said Bymer-Schultz. "We did pretty well for not doing it for over a year. It all came back pretty easily and we received great training from senior personnel."

Even up until the drill was secured, V-3 division continued to press on with their training. Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Anthony Fripp, the division's leading petty officer instructed the hose team on how to properly extinguish an aircraft fire. "It was rough, but they're coming along," he said. "We have a lot of new guys, so we have to train harder and more extensively." Fripp said this amount of training was necessary in preparation for getting underway again.

"The aspect of the drill I was most impressed with was the enthusiasm towards the safety of the crew and the ship," said Donnelly "We were able to accomplish all of the objectives, which is vitally important as we move towards more complex scenarios. We got good data points of where we are and where we need to go in terms of qualifications." 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

President Ford's Remarks at the USS NIMITZ Commissioning Ceremony

Gerald Ford
XXXVIII President of the United States: 1974-1977

Remarks at the USS Nimitz Commissioning Ceremony
Norfolk, Virginia - May 3, 1975

Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Distinguished Members of the Congress, Secretary Middendorf, Admiral Holloway, Admiral Cousins, Captain Compton, Mrs. Lay, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
At the outset, let me thank the Secretary of Defense for his more than generous comments, and let me simply reiterate the theme that he set forth. We are strong, we will continue to be strong, we will keep our commitments, and we will remain a great country.
As each of us looks upon this great ship, a single thought must seize our minds: Only the United States of America can make a machine like this. There is nothing like her in the world today. We have witnessed the magic moment when an intricate mass of steel and cable and sophisticated marvels of engineering suddenly become a living thing with a unique personality.
No matter how many commissionings you take part in, breaking the pennant and setting the first watch involves a special reward for all of us who love the sea and the United States Navy. I thank you very much, Captain Compton, and all of the ship's company for the privilege of being here.
The Nimitz is now a United States Ship. I congratulate all who helped build her and all who man her, as well as their loved ones who-as many of you know better than I-- will do a lot of waiting for the sake of our country and of freedom everywhere. Their allegiance and their service to the country is also in the very best tradition of this great Nation.
We all regret that Mrs. Chester W. Nimitz, St., cannot share this proud hour with all of us, but I am happy that Mrs. Lay and other members of the admiral's family are here. It is also gratifying to have Admiral Rickover here, for without these two farsighted submariners, Fleet Admiral Nimitz and Admiral Rickover, we would have no nuclear Navy.
Few of us remember that it was Admiral Nimitz, as he was completing his career as Chief of Naval Operations in 1947, who recommended to the then Secretary of the Navy that the Bureau of Ships and the new Atomic Energy Commission get together to design and to build a nuclear propulsion plant for a submarine. Admiral Rickover took it from there.
I see this great ship as a double symbol of today's challenging times. She is first of all a symbol of the United States, of our immense resources in materials and skilled manpower, of our inexhaustible energy, of the inventive and productive genius of our free, competitive economic system, and of our massive but controlled military strength.
Wherever the United States Ship Nimitz shows her flag, she will be seen as we see her now, a solid symbol of United States strength, United States resolve--made in America and manned by Americans. She is a movable part and parcel of our country, a self-contained city at sea plying the international waters of the world in defense of our national interests. Whether her mission is one of defense, diplomacy, or humanity, the Nimitz will command awe and admiration from some, caution and circumspection from others, and respect from all.
There is no need for me to dwell on the importance of aircraft carriers in today's and tomorrow's defense planning--though as an old carrier man myself, I might like that role. During recent days, I think it is worthy to note, we have seen the most convincing demonstration of their readiness and their flexibility in the successful execution of national policy.
Without the five aircraft carriers which served as the nucleus of our forces operating off South Vietnam, without the skill and the heroic performance of Marine Corps and naval aviation and support personnel, without the Air Force helicopter crews who operated from the carrier decks, we could not have rescued all of the remaining American citizens and thousands of endangered Vietnamese from Saigon within 20 hours. And I congratulate, on behalf of all of you, the work that was done on that occasion.
The Nimitz joins the fleet at an auspicious moment when our determination to strengthen our tics with allies across both great oceans and to work for peace and stability around the world requires clear demonstration. Along with our other forces worldwide, the Nimitz will make critically important contributions in our continuing quest for a peaceful planet, a planet whose surface is more than 70 percent ocean.
As I see the United States Ship Nimitz as a symbol of the vast power, the protective or productive skill and economic strength of America, so will others around the world. To all, this great ship is visible evidence of our commitment to friends and allies and our capability to maintain those commitments. But for Americans, especially, she is also a symbol of the man whose name she bears.
The grandson of a seafaring German immigrant, who grew up in the great State of Texas and never lost his pride in his native State, Chester W. Nimitz started from the smoke of Pearl Harbor and carried the fight to the enemy. His superb leadership and the valor of more than 2 million American fighting men culminated on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri 4 years later, as he signed the Japanese surrender as commander in chief of the largest naval armada ever assembled.
Looking back on a period of my own life, one of the things of which I am the proudest is that I can say, "I served under Admiral Nimitz in the Pacific."
As a lowly lieutenant on the U.S.S. Monterey, a carrier you could probably stow on the hangar deck of the Nimitz, I saw very little of fleet admirals during World War II. But every watch officer could recognize the crisp CINCPAC [Commander in Chief, Pacific] dispatches that Admiral Nimitz obviously had written in his own hand.
One biographer who did not know him--or who, I should say, did know him--Professor E. B. Potter of the Naval Academy, summed up Admiral Nimitz' qualities in simple words that well serve as a model for anyone who aspires to leadership in any line of endeavor. And I quote from Professor Potter: "He surrounded himself with the ablest men he could find and sought their advice, but he made his own decisions. He was a keen strategist who never forgot that he was dealing with human beings, on both sides of the conflict. He was aggressive in war without hate, audacious while never failing to weigh the risks."
Admiral Nimitz, of all the great American commanders of World War II, was one of the most self-effacing and, certainly, one of the most effective. He possessed great stamina, an abundance of common sense, and such immense inner strength that he felt no need to strut or to shout.
Born near what today we would call the poverty level, he worked hard, he studied hard, and was a long, long time getting ahead. He spent his whole life training to serve his country in commanding men at sea, and when he was needed, he was prepared. He learned by his mistakes and was tolerant of others, but he was always in command.
Those who had the good fortune to know Admiral Nimitz will say his fundamental honesty, intellectual honesty and integrity, enabled him to keep a steady course toward his ultimate objective without yielding to the tremendous pressures of his vast responsibilities. He did the job he was prepared to do, did it superbly, hung up his sword and filled his final years with quiet service to his country and to the cause of peace.
Repeatedly urged to write his wartime memoirs, Admiral Nimitz just as repeatedly refused. To do so, he explained, would compel him either to hurt the reputations of some fine shipmates or tell some whopping lies.
His own philosophy, in his own words, has long been a personal inspiration to me. Typically, he credited it to his seafaring grandfather. "The sea, like life itself is a stern taskmaster," he recalled. "The best way to get along with either is to learn all you can, then do your best, and don't worry--especially about things over which you have no control."
So, this great ship is a symbol of a great sea commander and a great American, one whose common virtues--magnified by the stern demands of duty--turned defeat into victory and made the broad Pacific again worthy of its name.
It is my determination to keep it that way, the way all oceans and all continents ought to be. But Fleet Admiral Nimitz and this fine ship both tell us that controlled strength is the sure guarantor of peace. Let us all--and particularly those who serve in the United States Ship Nimitz, now and hereafter-rededicate ourselves to this principle and to unstinting service to our country and to its people.
Good afternoon, and Godspeed.
Note: The President spoke at 11:44 a.m. at Pier 12 at the Norfolk Naval Air Station. In his opening remarks, he referred to J. William Middendorf II, Secretary of the Navy; Adm. James L. Holloway III, Chief of Naval Operations; Adm. Ralph W. Cousins, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Capt. Bryan W. Compton, Jr., commanding officer of the U.S.S. Nimitz; and Mrs. Catherine Lay, daughter of Fleet Admiral Nimitz.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcome to the USS NIMITZ blog...

Welcome to USS NIMITZ' Official Blog. This page is intended to provide updated information and discussion on USS NIMITZ (CVN 68). Please visit our official homepage at

While this is an open forum, it's also a family friendly one, so please keep your comments and wall posts clean. In addition to keeping it family friendly, we ask that you follow our posting guidelines found on this page.