Pacific Command Set to Deploy USS-Nimitz
Pacific Command has recently announced a deployment of the USS Nimitz CVN-68 Carrier Strike Group to the Asian Pacific and the Sea of Japan. (1) This action heightens tensions and speculation into the possibility of an upcoming military intervention with North Korea. The region has been on high alert since Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jon Un, seemed to back tough talk against the US and her allies, with several medium range missile tests in the area. North Korea has simultaneously stepped up its nuclear program, having detonated a total of 5 nuclear devices, two most recently in 2016 (2)
Nimitz, which is the first of a series of supercarriers, and the name sake of an entire class of ships, was commissioned in 1975. The original Nimitz, was named after World War II Pacific Fleet Commander, Chester W. Nimitz, and until 1987 her home port was in Norfolk, Virginia. It was then assigned to a new home port at Bremerton Naval Station in Washington State, and in 2001 received a refueling and major overhaul. As the USS Nimitz is a nuclear powered vessel, a refuel involves removal and replacement of spent nuclear material. It was most recently in for another overhaul that took nearly 2 years, being finally finished in September of 2016. (3)
Now back at sea for the first time since 2013, Nimitz has just completed a series of exercises with it’s strike group, and is ready for its newly announced deployment to the Sea of Japan.
The USS Nimitz, is one of 11 such supercarriers in the US Navy, including the USS Gerald Ford CVN-78 which is slated to be commissioned in 2017. It will be joining the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Groups for naval exercises with South Korea. Carl Vinson will conclude training prior to the end of it’s 6 month deployment to the region.
The Carrier USS Ronald Reagan is one of the ships that responded to a humanitarian crisis off of the Coast of Japan after an earthquake damaged reactors at Fukishima. Ronald Reagan is one of 16 ships still contaminated with radiation from the disaster, and it is reported than numerous sailors stationed on board at the time, are involved in battles against cancer, as a result of that original contamination. (4)
(1) The Diplomat – Is the US Navy Deploying a Third Carrier Strike Group to the Asia-Pacific? 5-30-17
(2) Wikipedia -North Korean Nuclear Tests
(3) US Pacific Command – Nimitz Conducts Composite Training Unit Exercise In Preparation For Deployment 4-12-2017
(4) Stars and Stripes – 16 US ships that aided in Operation Tomodachi still contaminated with radiation 3-13-2016