Carrier USS Nimitz Pulls into Naval Station North Island After Indo-Pacific Deployment

June 28, 2023 7:08 PM
U.S. Navy Sailors prepare to man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in San Diego on June 28, 2023. U.S. Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) pulled into Naval Air Station North Island Wednesday after a nearly seven-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific.

Nimitz is offloading elements of Carrier Air Wing 17 at North Island before heading to its homeport at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash., a Navy official told USNI News. The air wing started flying off on Tuesday.

Destroyer USS Decatur (DDG-73) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) also returned home on Wednesday, pulling into Naval Base San Diego, according to ship spotters. Both Decatur and Bunker Hill deployed as part of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

When Nimitz deployed in early December, the CSG included Bunker Hill, staff of Destroyer Squadron 9 and five Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers – Decatur, USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) and USS Shoup (DDG-86). Wayne E. Meyer came home Tuesday, while Chung-Hoon returned on June 20, according to a Navy news release. Both destroyers are homeported at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

“For seven months, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group demonstrated our ironclad commitment to partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region,” Rear Adm. Jennifer Couture the commander of Carrier Strike Group 11, said in a Navy news release.
“During this deployment, Sailors of every rank and rate displayed a vigorous work ethic and a humble devotion to duty and I want to thank them and their families for their sacrifice.

During the deployment to the Indo-Pacific, the Nimitz CSG drilled with partners and allies in the region like Japan and India, participated in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Large Scale Global Exercise, operated in the South China Sea and supported relief efforts in Guam as a communications hub after Super Typhoon Mawar swept over the island.

“While in the U.S. 7th Fleet AO, CSG-11 conducted deterrence and presence operations; multinational exercises; integrated multi-domain training; long-range maritime strike exercises; anti-submarine warfare; information warfare operations; air defense operations; multiple ship navigation; and formation maneuvering and refueling-at-sea operations,” the Navy said in a news release.

Earlier this month, Chung-Hoon transited the Taiwan Strait with Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH-336) when a People’s Liberation Army Navy destroyer cut across the bow of Chung-Hoon.

“During the transit, PLA(N) LUYANG III DDG 132 (PRC LY 132) executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of Chung-Hoon. The PRC LY 132 overtook Chung-Hoon on their port side and crossed their bow at 150 yards,” Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement at the time.
Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 kts to avoid a collision. The PRC LY 132 crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second-time starboard to port at 2,000 yards and remained off Chung-Hoon’s port bow. The LY 132’s closest point of approach was 150 yards and its actions violated the maritime ‘Rules of the Road’ of safe passage in international waters.”

The Nimitz CSG during the deployment also drilled with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group. USS Makin Island‘s (LHD-8) F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters teamed up with Nimitz’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes during the drills, USNI News previously reported.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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