Each of our naval vessles has a rich history. What they’ve done, where they’ve been, and who they were named after. To begin what I hope to be a series that covers our carrier and expeditionary strike groups, the flagship of the Nimitz CSG is first on our list. Here to talk about this fine piece of engineering, is the commanding officer, Capt. Jeff Ruth.
Our legacy comes from the rich history of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, and the long service of the ship—the lead in the Nimitz class of aircraft carriers. Both the man and the ship share deep roots in tradition, dedication and service to the United States Navy.
Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz, USN (February 24, 1885 – February 20, 1966) was a five-star admiral in the United States Navy. He held the dual command of Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, for U.S. naval forces and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, for U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II. He was the leading U.S. Navy authority on submarines, as well as Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation in 1939. He served as Chief of Naval Operations from 1945 until 1947. He was the United States’ last surviving Fleet Admiral.
His rise to Fleet Admiral was not without hiccups. While he was an ensign in command of the destroyer USS Decatur, the ship ran aground on a sand bar in the Philippines. The ship was pulled free, however, Nimitz was court-martialed, found guilty of neglect of duty and issued a letter of reprimand. He obviously recovered from that misstep and continued to develop as a leader, encouraging his men to question authority, while telling them to not worry about what they could not control, and to learn everything they could about their job.
A few of my favorite quotes from Admiral Nimitz:
- God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.
- Our present control of the sea is so absolute that it is sometimes taken for granted.
- Among the Americans serving on Iwo island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.
USS Nimitz was commissioned on May 3, 1975 by Rear Adm. Richard E. Rumble, Commander, Fifth Naval District, at Pier 12, Naval Station Norfolk, Va. with President Gerald R. Ford and more than 20,000 guests in attendance. Nimitz’ commissioning marked the beginning of a new “Nimitz class” of aircraft carriers.
Nimitz has been called upon many times to deploy around the world to support both war and peace efforts. The men and women who have ensured the continued success of this ship and her missions have done so through great effort and dedication to their work and to their country. No matter the generation, no matter the mission, Nimitz Sailors have answered the call, and we couldn’t be more proud to be conducting our current mission here in the NAVCENT AOR.
Now, as ever, teamwork is our tradition.
-Capt. Jeff Ruth, Commanding Officer, USS Nimitz (CVN 68)