BREMERTON, Wash. - Capt. Craig C. Sicola relieved Capt. Maximilian Clark as commanding officer of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during a change of command ceremony on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier, July 29.
Clark, from Philadelphia, assumed command of Nimitz in August 2019. He is a 1992 U.S. Naval Academy graduate and has attended the U. S. Naval War College graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He was designated a Naval Aviator in November 1994.
While under Clark’s command, Nimitz deployed and operated in U.S. 5th Fleet, supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, and Operation Inherent Resolve with close air support and defensive counter-air missions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Nimitz also transited 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.
The crew of the Nimitz returned to Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton in March 2021, having traveled over 99,000 nautical miles, launching over 10,000 sorties and logging over 23,000 flight hours.
Clark addressed the crew of the ship’s accomplishments while under his command during the change of command ceremony.
“To this amazing crew of the first in class aircraft carrier, the men and women who worked tirelessly to maintain and operate this marvel of engineering and symbol of American might, and the families who love and support them…you have met and exceeded my expectation during my tenure,” said Clark, “This past 340-day continuous period away from home was not the deployment we envisioned or even wanted but it was the one we were given and most importantly the one our Navy and nation needed us to execute, and you all performed magnificently.”
Sicola, from Dallas, graduated from Texas A&M University in 1994 and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1994. He has accumulated more than 3,400 flight hours and previously served as commanding officer of USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19).
“Thank you for what you do each day,” said Sicola. “You turn orchestrated chaos into a lethal and powerful weapon they call a warship. Your hard work makes that happen and I hope you feel as proud of this historic ship as I do.”
Sicola also addressed the future of the Nimitz, preparations for returning to sea, and his expectations for not only the crew, but of himself.
“Every task we are given I need you to do it the right way the first time, train ourselves to be the best at our job and when asked – and the time will come – to execute the mission with precision and lethality.”