Aircraft Carrier Centennial: USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

As the U.S. Navy continues to celebrate 100 years of aircraft carriers, this month we honor an aircraft carrier with deep ties to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility—USS Nimitz (CVN 68), a flagship carrier with more than four decades of service.

While celebrating the recent commissioning anniversary of Nimitz, its sailors noted the history and enduring legacy of this vessel.

“Forging a path through stormy seas and troubled times, Nimitz continues to be a cornerstone of the U. S. military’s might for 47 years.”

Named after Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Navy’s last five star admiral, the keel of the Nimitz was laid June 22, 1968.

Catherine Nimitz Lay, daughter of of the late admiral, christened the aircraft carrier May 3, 1975. President Gerald R. Ford was the principal speaker at the commissioning ceremony.

Speaking to a crowd of 20,000, the president said in his remarks, “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.”

Carriers have been one of the greatest strategic assets of the U.S. Navy since March 20, 1922 when the former USS Jupiter (Collier #3) was recommissioned as USS Langley (CV 1), after a two-year conversion into the Navy’s first aircraft carrier. Since then, carriers have been the cornerstone of the Navy’s ability to maintain sea control and project power ashore.

In June 2021, Rear Adm. James P. Downey, U.S. Navy Program Executive Officer Aircraft Carriers, said, “The aircraft carrier is our U.S. Navy’s centerpiece, our flagship, and a constant reminder to the rest of the world of our enduring maritime presence and influence. These ships touch every part of our Navy’s mission to project power, ensure sea control, and deter our adversaries.”

The multi-mission capabilities of today’s nuclear aircraft carriers enable the Navy to meet any tasking from combat missions to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The mission of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility helps ensure our carriers are able to rapidly deploy, maneuver and distribute combat forces across millions of square miles.

Nimitz recently departed PSNS & IMF after arriving in Bremerton in March 2021 from a record 11-month deployment. The ship completed a six-month Chief of Naval Operations Planned Incremental Availability in November 2021.

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