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US carrier Nimitz arrives in the Middle East

USS Nimitz
Aircraft from Nimitz Carrier Strike Group fly in formation over the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) on June 2, 2020. Photo: US Navy

US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the flagship of the Nimitz carrier strike group (CSG), entered the US 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) on July 24, the US Navy said.

Nimitz is continuing a prolonged presence of US carriers in the Middle East, with at least one carrier present in the region since mid-2019. USS Nimitz arrived in the US Fifth Fleet just as USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), which spent a considerable portion of its 2020 deployment there, is close to returning home.

In March this year, the Eisenhower teamed up with USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for a dual-carrier drill in the Arabian Sea. 2020 is turning out to be a good year for US carrier operations with the exception of the COVID-19 outbreak aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, which had a number of implications on the service and eventually led to the sacking of the ship’s commanding officer and the resignation of the US Navy secretary.

In June this year, the US Navy even had four carriers underway simultaneously, USS Nimitz, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike), USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan.

The Nimitz strike group ships currently underway in the Middle East include the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114).

“The sailors and marines of Nimitz strike group can be proud of the work they have done thus far on deployment,” Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander, CSG 11. “And I know they are ready to execute their duties in 5th Fleet to ensure the free flow of commerce, deter aggression, defend our interests and support partners and allies in the region.”

Since leaving homeport on April 27, Nimitz CSG has completed a composition training unit exercise, conducted dual-carrier operations with USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), made a safe haven port visit to Guam while observing strict COVID-19 restrictions and participated in cooperative exercises with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean.