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Anchoring Lives Aboard Warship: Nimitz

After being the focus of national attention, USS Nimitz, the lead aircraft carrier of the United States, has sailed off the Chennai coast .

While everyone talked about the possible radiation from the nuclear reactors powering the ship and debated over if the ship had nuclear weapons on board or not, very few knew of the F-16 and F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, the world's best fighter aircrafts, and only a handful have the knowledge that the largest warship in the world has a 53-bedded hospital ward and a three-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU).



It acts as the hospital ship for not just USS Nimitz with a 5,000 odd crew, but the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, that includes half-a-dozen ``destroyers'' and ``cruisers'', each manned by about 400 personnel. The medical department is manned by six doctors, including a general surgeon.

There is a separate dental department that has five dentists, one of whom is Mohammed Kamil, an Indian-American Lieutenant Commander, who was at home for the first time in his life, after leaving the shores when he was 12 years old. This medical department delivers high-quality health care to all individuals on board the ship and is the casualty-receiving unit for the Nimitz CSG.

The main objective is to maintain a high level of readiness to respond to any emergency situations, said Captain Michael C Manazir. The hospital corpsmen and healthcare professionals staff six ``battle dressing stations'' throughout the ship during all drills and in case of need.

From vaccination, to eye check-up, dentistry, and surgeries, the medical department on board keeps working round the clock, like other departments, to be battle efficient. The crew, especially the airwing, keeps injuring on a daily basis. Recently, the oldest crew member who sustained a leg injury jumping from the ship into the Arabian Sea was treated. The foremost duty of the department, though, is prevention of any di
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