U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) got underway from Naval Base Kitsap on June 1 to start a regularly scheduled deployment.
The aircraft carrier is joined by destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Shoup (DDG 86) who departed Naval Station Everett on the same day.
While many speculate the deployment is in response to events in the South China Sea and North Korean missile tests, the U.S. Navy said this was a previously planned, routine deployment and was not in response to any specific incident or regional event.
“This deployment is the culmination of months of intensive training and preparations,” said Rear Adm. Bill Byrne Jr., commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11. “The Nimitz Strike Group stands ready to respond to a wide variety of contingencies, be that a humanitarian disaster or a regional incident. We’re honored to be in this position to answer the nation’s call to duty.”
Nimitz, the flagship of the strike group, Kidd and Shoup will make a brief stop at Naval Air Station North Island to meet up with the other ships and units of the strike group.
Strike Group units have spent most of the past seven months underway preparing for deployment. Nimitz participated in a series of pre-deployment inspections and training evolutions, including Board of Inspection and Survey and a Composite Training Unit Exercise that certified them ready for deployment.
USS Shoup and USS Kidd are part of Destroyer Squadron 9 which also consists of San Diego-based Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard and USS Pinckney and the San Diego-based Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton.
The Nimitz Strike Group last deployed in 2013. Since then, Nimitz hosted the first aircraft carrier landings of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in 2014 and completed a 20-month extended planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, which completed in October 2016.