USS Nimitz Returns Home
More than 3,000 Sailors on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) returned to their homeport in Everett, Wash., May 12, following two weeks at sea conducting various certifications.
The certifications completed this underway period include flight deck certifications, precision approach and landing system (PALS) certification and carrier air traffic control center (CATCC) certifications.
While at sea, Nimitz completed approximately 374 launches and recoveries in support of certifications with assistance from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 and CVW 9 squadrons, said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) William C. Cinnamon, from Albany, N.Y.
Carrier qualifications involve familiarization for the flight deck crews, he said.
“It’s always fun to get back into flight ops,” said Cinnamon. “Proficiency is key. The more you do it, the better you get at it. We can keep it safe and minimize incidents through training and certifications and making sure we stay on top of our game.”
The flight deck crew works hand-in-hand with CATCC who plays a vital role in getting aircraft on and off the flight deck, according to Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Matthew Dutcheshen, from Orange County, Calif., ensuring maximum efficiency is a must.
“Air traffic controllers have to keep their proficiency up, so when we don’t actually get to talk to live aircraft we have to re-qualify on our CATCC cert,” said Dutcheshen.
The CATCC certification demonstrates Nimitz can provide air traffic control services to pilots in good weather, bad weather, or at night, said Chief Air Traffic Controller Jed Theriot.
Another aspect to ensuring the safe landing of aircraft is PALS certification, which consists of a series of approaches and landings, and is good for two years, he said.
The evaluation is conducted by a team of civilians and pilots from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, from Naval Air Stations Patuxent, Md., said Theriot.
“They make sure that we are operating in the most safe and efficient manner that we can provide,” said Theriot.
In addition, Nimitz’ Reactor Department completed a Mobile Training Team visit by Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC) N9 Nuclear Propulsion, said Nimitz Assistant Reactor Officer Cmdr. Dan Turbeville.
The five-day visit was a comprehensive review of Reactor Department’s programs and daily operation, Turbeville said.
“All of the propulsion plant watch teams were flexed through complex propulsion plant casualty control drills and maintenance evolutions,” said Turbeville, adding. “All personnel involved executed their assigned tasks with skill and professionalism.”
Although the certifications applied to different systems on the ship, all the systems and the personnel who operate them had to work together.
“I am very proud of the exemplary efforts of our Sailors and the support of the air wings,” said Capt. Jeff Ruth, commanding officer of Nimitz. “Our successes are the result of everyone pulling together and really demonstrating our motto of ‘teamwork, a tradition.'”
Press Release, May 13, 2014; Image: US Navy