ARABIAN GULF, Aug. 29, 2017 —
U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, visited the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) to take a tour of the ship and to speak with the crew, Aug. 24.
After arriving by an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, Votel was greeted on the flight deck by Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11, and Capt. Kevin P. Lenox, commanding officer of Nimitz.
Votel’s visit was part of an 11-day trip throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
“It’s been great to meet with our service members supporting our missions,” said Votel. “I am especially proud of the great work I’ve seen so far from the Nimitz team. Spending time with our fellow service members that are forward deployed is always the highlight of my trips.”
Votel toured various spaces around the ship including: primary flight control, flight deck control, the bridge, and even viewed flight operations from the flight deck.
“I’m very glad that I could make it out here today to let you know how proud I am of you,” said Votel during a 1MC announcement to the ship’s crew. “Our campaign relies on you to keep the ship, the crew and yourself ready to fight at all times. Your mission out here greatly contributes to the overall stability in the Arabian Gulf. I’m proud to be your shipmate, if only for a short while today”
While navigating through the tour, Votel met with some of the Sailors who work aboard Nimitz. Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Jesse Starner had the opportunity of speaking with Votel during his visit to primary flight control.
“It’s was an honor to be selected to meet and speak to a four-star general,” said Starner, from Raleigh, North Carolina. “He seemed very humble and I’m glad he took the time to get to know some of the crew.”
Nimitz is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. While in this region, the ship and strike group are conducting maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners, preserve freedom of navigation, and maintain the free flow of commerce.