Home » Foreign Forces » USS Nimitz to Visit Sri Lanka Saturday; First U.S. Carrier to Visit Colombo in More than 30 Years


USS Nimitz to Visit Sri Lanka Saturday; First U.S. Carrier to Visit Colombo in More than 30 Years

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) patrols the Arabian Gulf, Oct. 20, 2017. US Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is set to make a port call in Sri Lanka, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy.

The carrier is set to dock in the port of Colombo on Saturday for a three-day port visit – the first to dock since the mid-1980s, according to the statement.

“Building our maritime partnership in step with Sri Lanka’s own progress on reconciliation and human rights advances our shared national goals of fostering security and stability,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Atul Keshap in a statement.
“I’m delighted that U.S. sailors will have the chance to visit Sri Lanka, meet with its wonderful people, and take part in public service activities at schools, hospitals, and rest homes that will improve the lives of Sri Lankans of all ages… While in port, sailors will also work with local non-profit organizations to support community service events at a local hospital, an orphanage, and other sites.”

Currently, there are three U.S. carrier strike groups operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Strike groups centered on carriers Nimitz (CVN-68), USS Ronald Regan (CVN-76) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) are currently operating in U.S. 7th Fleet and could conceivably come together for the first three carrier exercise in a decade.

The AP cited unnamed defense officials saying there were plans for the three strike groups exercise for some time next month.

Director of Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie addressed the possibility on Thursday.

“We always seek to do that when we have an opportunity to do it. It doesn’t come along very often,” McKenzie said.
“It does demonstrate a unique and powerful capability that has a very significant assurance effect on our allies in the western Pacific.”
The exercise could come as President Donald Trump visits the region in a multi-country visit in early November.

Sailors aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) watch as the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transit in formation during a joint photo exercise in 2007. US Navy Photo

The last U.S. three carrier combined exercise was in 2007 off of Guam as part of the biennial Valiant Shield exercise series. Carriers included were Nimitz, USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) and the now-retired conventionally powered USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).

  • NavySubNuke

    “I’m delighted that U.S. sailors will have the chance to visit Sri Lanka, meet with its wonderful people, and take part in public service activities at schools, hospitals, and rest homes that will improve the lives of Sri Lankans of all ages… While in port, sailors will also work with local non-profit organizations to support community service events at a local hospital, an orphanage, and other sites.”

    Yikes – hopefully the poor sailors aren’t kept in a noose the hole time and are actually allowed to enjoy the visit as well. Not exactly a cold war era visit to Subic Bay based on this description….

    • muzzleloader

      My thoughts exactly. Good grief, our sailors aren’t the peace corps. They have been working hard on the line. They need some down time. Let liberty be exactly that: Liberty!

    • DaSaint

      What happened to liberty in the traditional sense. Like, I’m not on duty, let me enjoy myself!

      • El_Sid

        Social media happened.

        More than ever sailors are representatives of their country at all times, any transgressions (like say raping girls in Okinawa) _will_ be reported and will have serious diplomatic ramifications.

        Sri Lanka is not some backwater, it’s on the front-line of the new Cold War. The West is rapidly losing influence there to China, it’s a key part of China’s “string of pearls”. The massive development at Hambantota has the potential to become a Chinese Pearl Harbor or Gibraltar, and lies astride the main seaway from East to West.

        So no, this is not liberty, this is high-priority diplomacy and hearts-and-minds stuff. It’s in the US’ national interests that sailors don’t screw it up.

        • DaSaint

          Sounds good to me. There are other ports of call.

        • honcho13

          This is not a “new” concept or idea! The Navy has ALWAYS tried to bring aid and assistance to people less fortunate in other countries. One of my first cruises was UNITAS X in 1969 operating with various South American Navies. On my ship, USS Joseph K. Taussig (DE-1030), we off-loaded our DASH drone helos and filled the hangar with medical supplies and bedding materials. In various ports, we would visit orphanages where we would do repairs, painting, plumbing, etc. and donate much needed medical supplies. It was very rewarding and still left plenty of time to enjoy liberty! I suggest some of you young pups think a little more about your fellow human beings who are less fortunate! The beer will be still just as cold and the women just as hot after 1700! MMCS(SW), U. S. Navy (retired)

    • homey

      Welcome to the “new Navy”

    • homey

      morale is fine btw…

    • NEC338x

      Speaking from a carrier sailor POV, when we made port visits on WestPac in the 80’s and 90’s, the Chaplians Office would put out sign up sheets for those who wanted to volunteer to do good works during a port visit. Some Div’s (never Nukes) would provide extended liberty to participate. Lots of pictures of these events in the Cruise books. In a ships of thousands you can actually find a dozen or so that choose to participate.

      • RobM1981

        I think you said the magic word, “extended.” Liberty *should* be extended for this. That’s a win-win.

      • Ed L

        I remember those sign up sheets. Helped out at orphanages quite a few times. Very Gratifying

  • RobM1981

    Sam, you have a typo. CVN-76 is the ReAgan, not the Regan

    😉