Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, and Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Chad McCraken, speak with President Joe Biden during a conference call aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68). (U.S. Navy/MC3 Cheyenne Geletka)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - Sailors and Marines aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) received a phone call during the Super Bowl from President Joe Biden, Feb. 8.

In addition to delivering a message to the entire crew, Biden spoke directly to several Sailors, including fellow Pennsylvania native Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Barnes, from Pittsburgh.

“I think that was one of the coolest things that I have gotten to do in my military career thus far,” said Barnes. “Being [one of] seven out of 5,000 Sailors to actually speak to the Commander-In-Chief was an excellent and humbling experience.”

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate-Aircraft Handling Airman Isis DeShields, from Delmar, Delaware, agreed.

“At first I thought it would be really nerve racking,” said DeShields. “It just felt like having a natural conversation with President Biden.”

Biden also spoke with Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (NIMCSG) leadership, including Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander.

"It was an honor to have the opportunity talk with President Biden during the Super Bowl,” said Kirk, a native of Hershey, Penn. “The Sailors and Marines of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group continue to answer the nation's call as we conduct maritime security operations in the South China Sea. Whether we were rooting for the Bucs, Chiefs or just a great game, it was a pleasure to hear from the Commander in Chief on Super Bowl Sunday, far from home."

In his ship-wide message, Biden thanked the crew for their work this deployment.

On April 1, 2020, the crew of flagship USS Nimitz and staffs of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 embarked the carrier for what would be a nearly one month restriction of movement (ROM) period pierside at Nimitz’ homeport of Bremerton, Wash. prior to an April 27 departure for San Diego. NIMCSG completed a composite training unit exercise before departing San Diego for deployment June 8. The strike group completed four 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.

In U.S. 5th Fleet, NIMCSG supported Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. In September 2020, NIMCSG began operations in the Arabian Gulf, conducting the first carrier Strait of Hormuz transit 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 in December to support Joint Task Force – Quartz and Operation Octave Quartz during a repositioning of U.S. forces within East Africa.

NIMCSG is operating in U.S. 7th Fleet during a transit back to homeport. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet and employs 50 to 70 ships and submarines across the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.