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USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

Ship's Namesake

Chester William Nimitz Sr. (Feb. 24, 1885 – Feb. 20, 1966) was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy. He played a major role in the naval history of World War II as commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, commanding Allied air, land, and sea forces during World War II.

Nimitz was the leading U.S. Navy authority on submarines. Qualified in submarines during his early years, he later oversaw the conversion of these vessels’ propulsion from gasoline to diesel, and then later was key in acquiring approval to build the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (SSN 571), whose propulsion system later
completely superseded diesel-powered submarines in the U.S.

In 1917, he was the Navy’s leading developer of underway replenishment techniques, that tool that allowed the U.S. fleet to operate away from port almost indefinitely during the Pacific War. Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation in 1939, Nimitz served as chief of naval operations from 1945 until 1947. He was the United States’ last officer to serve at the rank of fleet admiral.

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