NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash (NNS) -- One hundred years have passed since peace fell across the battlefields of World War I. After the fog of war cleared, it was evident The Great War made indelible changes to the landscape of modern warfare, and it will forever be remembered as a time of sacrifice.
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) commemorated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the hostilities in World War I by ringing 21 bells at 11 a.m., November 11.
“Tolling, or ringing, of bells is the traditional way to mark someone’s passing,” said Capt. Kevin P. Lenox, commanding officer of Nimitz. “On special national occasions, bells are tolled in honor of the fallen. The bells we ring aboard Nimitz honored the more than four million American families who sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform during The Great War.”
Lenox said that each Sailor represents the fighting spirit of those who have gone before them. As the Navy looks to the heroes of the past, they will be more determined to deliver combat ready forces and maintain security through a sustained forward presence.
“2018 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I, which is noteworthy itself,” said Capt. J.W. David Kurtz, executive officer of Nimitz. “World War I is known primarily for brutal trench warfare in France but also for gas attacks and the start of powered aviation in support of combat and undersea warfare.”
Kurtz said the U.S. Navy played a role escorting convoys in defense against submarines, as well as the use of naval aviation assets to patrol for submarines and bomb enemy naval bases. He said it is important to remember our history and what got us to where we are now.
World War I was a time of innovation. Lt. Chester W. Nimitz, chief engineer of the fuel ship USS Maumee (AO-2), helped to develop modern underway replenishment-at-sea. This allowed smaller naval destroyers, which lacked a large fuel capacity, to take part in antisubmarine operations for extended periods of time in the Atlantic.
Today, replenishments-at-sea allows the U.S. Navy to sustain operations around the world, support interoperability amongst partner nations and project force and dominance.
“I know that by empowering our Sailors to solve problems and support the ship's mission, they will find and implement the solution to the new threat,” said Kurtz. “It wasn't Fleet Admiral Nimitz who figured out underway replenishment; it was Lt. Nimitz. It won't be Capt. Kurtz who figures out the next solution. It'll be the brand new petty officer who sees a better way forward and makes it happen.”
The Navy operates at a certain standard every day, but observations for improvement can be made by any Sailor, of any rank, at any given time. This is proven by the changes implemented by Lt. Nimitz and the introduction of UNREP.
Looking to the past is important before trying to take steps forward. Lessons learned in WWI, like the development of naval aviation and aircraft carriers, helped improve the fleet and prepare it for wars in the future.
“Potential adversaries are thinking of new ways to defeat us, so if we are stagnant we risk losing our competitive edge,” said Kurtz. “At the same time, properly trained and ready Sailors, working equipment, and current intelligence have been consistent requirements since war began. We have to balance being brilliant at those basics while looking for ways to gain and keep our advantages.”
Kurtz said the crew of Nimitz can exemplify the same spirit carried by WWI Sailors by maintaining discipline in the face of adversity, conducting every watch, maintenance, and evolution with integrity, and being ambitious enough to strive to be the best.
As the crew of Nimitz carries on these traditions and strives towards excellence, they are maintaining and furthering their readiness, lethality and modernization. This will result in the crew’s success in carrying out Nimitz’s portion of the U.S. Navy’s mission.