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Stafford native returns from 11-month deployment aboard aircraft carrier Nimitz

From the U-S Navy:

A 2016 Mountain View High School graduate and Stafford native recently returned to Bremerton, 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.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Devin Diaz is a cryptologic technician (technical) aboard the carrier. As a cryptologic technician, Diaz is responsible for monitoring the ship’s anti-ship missile defense system.

“My favorite part of the job is classifying threat level of ships and working in well air-conditioned spaces,” said Diaz.

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, 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. Mitigations were implemented strike group-wide to prevent the spread of COVID-19 aboard the ships, and included wearing face masks, social distancing, increased shipwide cleaning and a focus on handwashing. 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.”

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 is going from the rank of seaman to petty officer second class in less than a year,” said Diaz.

In U.S. 5th Fleet, NIMCSG supported Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. In September 2020, Nimitz conducted the first carrier transit through the Strait of Hormuz since November 2019. NIMCSG supported Operation Inherent Resolve, providing close air support and defensive counter-air missions to the coalition fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. NIMCSG transited to the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia to support Joint Task Force – Quartz and Operation Octave Quartz during a repositioning of U.S. forces within East Africa. While operating in 5th Fleet, NIMCSG also supported the 33-nation Combined Maritime Forces and the 8-nation International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) to ensure the free flow of commerce and maritime security in three critical waterways.

“I support the command’s mission in providing safety to the strike group by monitoring the electro-magnetic spectrum,” said Diaz.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Diaz, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Diaz is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My father was a Marine in Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Diaz.

Diaz 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 travel and create new options for the future,” added Diaz.

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

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