The USS Nimitz sets sail from California with 5,000 crew members. The sailors, airmen and cooks aboard this self-contained town find their lives and their roles collide as they go about their duties.
The USS Nimitz crew bond tightly. The Shooters, who launch and recover jets, have a Circle of Trust. The Ordies pride themselves on being a mafia. While the F-18 squadrons are tight fraternities.
Secrecy abounds on the USS Nimitz. From the supercarrier's itinerary and details of its nuclear reactor to dating and sex among crewmembers, every aspect of life on board is hush-hush.
Mentoring and camaraderie are what holds the USS Nimitz together. But life on deployment is stressful for everyone and there can be considerable friction, even when sailors blow off steam in port.
Flight deck personnel endure searing Gulf temperatures and pilots face gruelling 6-hour missions over Iraq as crew question the aircraft carrier's role and effectiveness in this particular war.
After two months in the Gulf, every day seems the same. The airwing hasn't dropped a single bomb, which is frustrating for all on board, and the only relief comes from a port call in Bahrain.
After its final day in the Gulf, the US Nimitz turns and heads for home. Crossing the equator, the entire ship takes part in the Crossing The Line Ceremony, an ancient maritime ritual.
As the Nimitz drops anchor in Perth, explore the many expressions of faith on board: faith in self, faith in one's shipmates, faith in the mission of the ship and faith in a higher power.
A six-month absence places a heavy burden on relationships for Nimitz crew. The Navy holds seminars to counsel sailors on what to expect when they return home - and how to make the transition smooth.
As the Nimitz makes its final transit from Hawaii to California, the sailors and Marines on board prepare to return to their homes and families, taking stock of what they've accomplished.
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