What’s it like to spend a long sea deployment on an aircraft carrier?

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Mudassir Ali 8 months 1 Answer 83 views

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  1. I spent 6 months on a “Med Cruise”. We departed Mayport Florida and spent about 3 days sailing to the Mediterranean as I recall. I was assigned to the group that ran the “gas station” Anything to do with storing and delivering jet fuel and Av Gas was done by my team.

    Impressions:

    The ocean is incredibly blue and clear once you get a few miles from shore.

    On moonless nights it is incredibly dark and isolated even with 5000 of your best friends on board.

    Once you are far from land there is generally no flight operations because the pilots need to be able to reach a land airport runway should they not be able to land on the ship – that is called the “bingo field”.

    Days are filled with training exercises and routine maintenance, lots of chipping paint and painting.

    When we are flying it was 18 hours of the hardest dangerous work per day, but it was so exciting you just did what you had to do. Adrenalin was running high.

    Sometimes the ship would stop and anchor off shore to catch up on everything maintenance and rest wise. No flying when stopped. It was rare when the ship would anchor to a pier in a foreign country. What was important was that the citizens could see us and be reassured by our presence – projecting power.

    Sometimes these stops included swim call and you could swim in the ocean which was cool. Other times there were “Liberty Boats” to shuttle you to shore so you could play tourist, find a drink or what ever ~~~. Generally there were a lot of drunks on the Liberty Ships taking you back to the carrier. You might get to serve as “Shore Patrol” aka Navy Police and get to respond to the numerous bar fights typically between Sailors and Marines.

    Food was served 4 times a day and there was plenty of it and for the most part it was pretty good. Mail would arrive by the COD – Carrier On board Delivery aircraft. Mail call was a highlight and did not occur everyday. Letters and “care packages” of your favorite goodies from home were always a hit. Cookies, candy

    Heading home time was spent getting the ship back in good clean order. Many like myself were going to be discharged when we got to the states and “short timer” calendars where kept with blocks colored in as each day passed. The calendars were always of girls and you can imagine where the last few days were colored in! Sailors!

    I highly recommend it and would love to go again if I could.

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