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Published: Friday, March 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

USS Nimitz is head of its class





  • A 2008 PBS miniseries looks at life aboard the USS Nimitz during a six-month deployment in 2005.

    A 2008 PBS miniseries looks at life aboard the USS Nimitz during a six-month deployment in 2005.

Today the USS Nimitz is to dock at Naval Station Everett and settle in as the base's resident aircraft carrier. It replaces the recently departed USS Abraham Lincoln, which is on deployment and then will be refueled on the East Coast and reassigned. The Nimitz is the namesake of a class of 10 nuclear-powered "super carriers" that includes the Lincoln. Here's a look at one of the world's biggest warships.

USS Nimitz | CVN-68

Nuclear-powered multi-mission aircraft carrier Launched: 1972
Commissioned: 1975
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Named for: Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz (1885-1966)
Length: 1,092 feet
Beam: 134 feet
Flight deck width: 252 feet
Draft: 37 feet
Propulsion: two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors, four steam turbines, four propeller shafts
Speed: 31.5 knots
Crew: 3,200
Air wing: 2,480
Aircraft (airplanes and helicopters): 90
Last refueling and complex overhaul: 2001
Anticipated decommissioning: 2018 SOURCES: U.S. Navy, Wikipedia

'5,000 stories'

In 2005, the U.S. Navy did something remarkable: The brass allowed 17 filmmakers aboard the USS Nimitz for the duration of a six-month deployment that included time in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq War. The result: 10 remarkable episodes of a PBS mini-series, "Carrier," which first was broadcast in 2008. It's an unflinching depiction of life aboard a floating military base, seen through the eyes of crew members. Like all good reality TV, the characters hail mostly from the humbler ranks of society. Many of them toil in obscure corners of the Nimitz. Watching them navigate life aboard ship is inspiring, endearing and at times disappointing. The series slogan -- "1 ship, 5,000 stories" -- pretty much sums it up. If you've ever looked out at a carrier on Puget Sound and wondered who's within the vast gray hull, this is colorful, must-see television. "Carrier" is widely available for DVD purchase or rent and can be watched via the Internet at

More online

USS Nimitz website
Interactive ship tour
Flickr photos

Story tags » USS Nimitz

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