Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks to a crew members on the hangar deck of the USS Essex. Navy photo

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III visited the San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Essex and Bremerton, WA-based aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on Thursday.

“Wrapping my trip this week by visiting with servicewomen and men administering COVID-19 vaccines on the USS Essex,” he said on Twitter after the visit. “As Secretary, it’s incredibly important to me that our military is doing everything it can to be part of the COVID-19 solution.”

The Nimitz is returning from an extended deployment that ultimately totaled 10 months. On its way to Bremerton, the F/A-18 Hornets of Miramar-based Fighter Attack Squadron 323 flew off to return to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Austin praised the crew of the Nimitiz, but told them, “I don’t want deployments this long to be the norm.”

Accompanying the Nimitz on its return from the Indo-Pacific region were the San Diego-based guided missile cruiser USS Princeton and guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett.

The Nimitz is returning from an extended deployment that ultimately totaled 10 months. in preparation for its next deployment.

On Wednesday, Austin was in Los Angeles to inspect active duty troops deployed to California State University, Los Angeles to help vaccinate 6,000 people per day. The troops are there in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Show comments

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.