USS Nimitz is head of its class
USS Nimitz | CVN-68
Nuclear-powered multi-mission aircraft carrier
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
Air wing: 2,480
Aircraft (airplanes and helicopters): 90
Last refueling and complex overhaul: 2001
Anticipated decommissioning: 2018
SOURCES: U.S. Navy, Wikipedia
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 Hulu.com.
USS Nimitz website
Interactive ship tour
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