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The USS Nimitz departed Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton on Thursday on its first deployment since 2013.
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is expected to be in the western Pacific for six months with visits to the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, though plans could change in response to world events, said spokeswoman Theresa Donnelly.
The Nimitz will lead Carrier Strike Group 11, which includes guided-missile destroyers USS Shoup and USS Kidd from Naval Station Everett, guided-missile destroyers USS Howard and USS Pinckney and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton from San Diego, and a conglomeration of aircraft squadrons that comprise Carrier Air Wing 11, including Naval Air Station Whidbey Island-based Gray Wolves of Electronic Attack Squadron 142.
After returning from its last deployment, the Nimitz underwent a 20-month maintenance and modernization period at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard that was completed in October. It has spent most of the past seven months at sea undergoing training and inspections in preparation for deployment. Now the ship and crew are ready to go, said commanding officer Capt. Kevin Lenox.
"I am so incredibly proud of the entire Nimitz team and the terrific coordination and support across the entire strike group, especially in such a condensed training cycle," he said in a news release. "The crew stepped up to the plate, and I'm confident we're ready to meet whatever challenges lie ahead on our upcoming deployment."