Charlotte sailor sails 87,300 nautical miles in 11 months

A Charlotte native recently returned to Bremerton, Washington, marking the end of an 11-month deployment aboard aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

Petty Officer 3rd Class William Banks is a personnel specialist aboard the carrier. As a personnel specialist, Banks is responsible for counseling and informing sailors on Navy-related occupations.

“My favorite part of my job is having my sailors know I am here to help them, and I know my job well,” said Banks.

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, Wash., 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, Nimitz 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.

A COVID-19 Medical Response Team was embarked for the duration of deployment.

Visits to Oman, Bahrain and Guam were confined to the piers to ensure the health and safety of the crew. New personnel that joined the ship underway also completed a sequester and tested negative for COVID-19 prior to embarking.

“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.”

“My proudest accomplishment on deployment was getting my Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification,” said Banks.

While underway, Banks supported the command’s mission in providing general education, job opportunities, sailors’ rights, benefits and promotion requirements.

Banks experienced an unprecedented deployment, one with unique challenges and successes, and both Navy and government leaders acknowledged the crew’s continued perseverance in the face of adversity.

“I joined the Navy to see the world and learn life skills along the way,” added Banks.

Nimitz is the flagship of NIMCSG, and returned to its homeport in Bremerton, Washington, following a deployment in support of maritime stability and security.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.