The USS Nimitz and ships from their carrier strike group make their second port call of 2023, having been deployed for about three months now and coming from the Port of Singapore. KUAM News had the opportunity to go aboard the aircraft carrier when it docked Sunday morning in Apra Harbor.

In the first three months of deployment, the USS Nimitz has traveled over 30,000 miles and within that time, they conducted over 5,600 launch and recoveries of aircraft. According to Commanding Officer Craig Sicola, the overall mission the whole time has been a presence operation and enabling the freedom of seas.

For Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney, commander for Carrier Strike Group 11, it's his twelfth time on island. He says while on Guam it will allow the over 5,000 sailors and crew to rest, relax, and regain their readiness.

The port visit to Guam comes on the heels of growing tensions in China and it begs the question if their arrival here has anything to do with the close encounters between U.S. and Chinese forces.

"This isn't a new thing for us to sail in the Indo-Pacific Region," he shared. "We've been sailing here for 75 years. We've been interacting with our allies and partners, whether that's in the air or on the sea - we continue to do that within international law  and we will continue to do that."

Recently, the Nimitz was in the spotlight when CBS Evening News did a special report aboard the carrier in the Western Pacific Ocean. When asked if he felt a sense of pressure or pride with all eyes on the carrier, he said, "First of all, an overwhelming sense of pride. The entire team here - it's not about me, it's really about this captain, his sailors - the 5,000 sailors on this ship, the shps that support us, the submarines that support us."

"I'm just honored to lead this group of sailors. I've been in the Navy for 32 years, and I've waited 32 to years to show off my sailors."

"One thing I said to my wife when I left, was that I was going ot bring each and every one them home safely - that's paramount on our minds. Regardless of what the media is reporting, and how we're sailing or operating in the Indo-Pacific Region, it's really taking care of our sailors and get them home safely," he added.

And with the increasing conflicts, how does he keep the sailors focused on the mission at hand?

"We're well trained when we leave the U.S. The nation and the Navy pour a lot of resources to make we're trained and we can operate safely," he said. "We spend a lot of time talking about the strategic objectives of our nation and what the policymakers are saying back in D.C. and how it relates to what they do each and every day on that flight deck up there."

And before we departed the USS Nimitz, we were given a tour. Every flight of stairs climbed and ever door opened in the over 1,000'-long and 252'-wide carrier proved difficult for us to maneuver around and even in one instance getting lost but the sailors made it look easy, quickly moving up and down the stairs swiftly.

The USS Nimitz is massive. It is 244' high which is as tall as a 23-story building!  When we got on the flight deck , being surrounded by the fleet of aircraft it makes you realize just how mission ready they are.

Closing out our tour, was a view from the navigation desk. Looking down at all the aircraft and sailors still hard at work was such a sight to see. Sweeney hoping through stories such as this that people will embrace all the sailors do.

"It a fabolous way to show off what our sailors do each and every day. And how it matters," he said.

We'll have more from the USS Nimitz tomorrow as she we the chance to speak to sailors with Guam roots and their excitement on returning home.