A third aircraft carrier, USS NIMITZ, departed from its homeport
of San Diego on April 2 to join 5th fleet operating in the Persian
Gulf. The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) will relieve the
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) CSG, currently operating in
Nimitz’s arrival will continue the current two-carrier
presence in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.
This is the Nimitz’s third deployment to the Central Command
area of operations in four years. In mid-2005, the Nimitz CSG
operated in the supported operations in Iraq and throughout
the region. In 2003, the carrier flew combat missions over Iraq
and supported combat operations during an eight-month deployment.
The Nimitz CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. Terry Blake, is comprised
of Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CCG) 11, Carrier Air Wing
(CVW) 11 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23. It includes the
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Nimitz; guided-missile cruiser
USS Princeton (CG 59); guided-missile destroyers USS Higgins
(DDG 76), USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53),
and USS Pinckney (DDG 91); two detachments from the Helicopter
Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 “Scorpions,”
and Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit 11, Det. 15.