The USS Nimitz will spend at least the next year at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for a scheduled maintenance period following the completion of a six-month-long deployment.
"It's almost like your car. If you drove your car for 78,000 miles, you'd have to replace the tires and all that," said Nimitz Chief Engineer Chuck Jones. "So that's what we have to do."
The Bremerton-based Nimitz returned to its homeport on Sunday after spending the last half-year at sea conducting combat operations in the Arabian Gulf and participating in numerous multinational training and operation exercises in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
This deployment tested the 42-year-old Nimitz, which is the oldest active service nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the fleet.
The Nimitz traveled enough miles that it totaled up to sailing around the globe five times. In the gulf, the strike group operated in extremely hot conditions, where the heat index often exceeded 150 degrees and the seawater temperature hovered around 100 degrees.
Nimitz was up to the task, thanks to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard's maintenance work prior to deployment, Jones said.