The aircraft carrier Nimitz completed its 350,000th arrested landing on Saturday, marking a historic milestone for the oldest-serving U.S.-commissioned aircraft carrier in the world, according a statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.
Capt. Craig Sicola, commanding officer of Nimitz, and Cmdr. Luke Edwards, the lead officer for the “Fighting Redcocks” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, piloted the landing in an F/A-18F Super Hornet.
“I am honored and humbled to land this historic milestone for our ship,” Sicola said of the first-ever instance of a U.S. carrier reaching 350,000 arrested landings. “I dedicate this landing to the countless naval aviators who have flown before me, and it is a privilege to further the proud tradition of service that this distinguished aircraft carrier embodies.”
Commissioned in 1975, the carrier is the flagship of its namesake carrier strike group, which is currently operating in the 7th Fleet waters of the Indo-Pacific. The milestone occurred while Nimitz performed freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, according to the statement.
The Chinese government regularly asserts territorial claims over most of the sea despite the region’s overlap with a number of other Southeast Asian countries.
“This landmark is a testament to the nation’s commitment to fly, sail and operate around the globe promoting peace and security just as ‘Old Salt - the NIMITZ’ has done for the past 48 years,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander of Carrier Strike Group 11.
Before the crew of the Nimitz could celebrate the accomplishment, sailors were ordered to finish getting the flight deck ready for more aircraft to land. Soon after reaching the 350,000 milestone, Nimitz registered arrested landing No. 350,001, according to the statement.
The aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower currently claims the next highest total of arrested landings with 326,600.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.