Chief Petty Officer Joshua Steitzer, a 2006 Ashwaubenon High School graduate and Green Bay, Wisconsin native, recently returned to Bremerton, Washington, marking the end of an 11-month deployment aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.
Steitzer is a damage controlman aboard the carrier. As a damage controlman, he is responsible for training the ship’s crew in shipboard firefighting and maintaining portable and installed firefighting equipment.
“My favorite part of the job is teaching sailors how to combat different casualties while on board a Naval ship,” said Steitzer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the crew of Nimitz embarked aboard the aircraft carrier for a nearly month-long sequester in its homeport of Bremerton, Washington, April 1, 2020. Nimitz then departed to the waters off the coast of Southern California to be joined by the rest of Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) for integrated training prior to deploying June 8, 2020.
Throughout deployment, NIMCSG steamed 87,300 nautical miles and embarked Carrier Air Wing 17 completed more than 10,599 sorties and 24,317 flight hours.
Nimitz was the first aircraft carrier to successfully deploy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with no reported cases aboard.
“I am incredibly proud of this remarkable crew who have completed all assigned tasks and missions with great precision and professionalism over the course of a very long deployment,” said Capt. Max Clark, Nimitz commanding officer. “Each Sailor aboard Nimitz can be exceptionally proud of their accomplishments and service to the nation.”
NIMCSG completed multiple dual carrier operations in U.S. 7th Fleet with Ronald Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Groups, and conducted cooperative deployments with the Indian and Australian navies. The ships also participated in multinational Exercise Malabar 2020 with Japan, Australia, and India.
“My proudest accomplishment on deployment was being selected to Chief,” said Steitzer. “I support the command’s mission in coordinating firefighting drills that simulate actual casualties on different scenarios that the ship may come across while on deployment.”
“My uncle is a retired gunner’s mate in the Navy, my grandfather served in the Army, and my dad served in the Air Force,” said Steitzer, “I joined the Navy to follow my uncle who joined 10 years before I did. It has been the best decision of my life.”
Nimitz is the flagship of NIMCSG, and returned to its homeport in Bremerton, Washington, following a deployment in support of maritime stability and security.