When we were stationed at NAS Whidbey, J. and his squadron, VAQ-141, were part of Carrier Air Wing 8, based out of Oceana, Virginia and attached to the USS George Bush. So when he deployed last year, he was on the USS George Buch. Now that we are at NAF Atsugi, they are part of Carrier Air Wing 5 which is attached to the USS George Washington. This air wing is unique because all of the squadrons in the air wing are based here at NAF Atsugi.
J. joined VAQ-141 while they were already deployed last year, so he was flown out to meet the boat midway through the deployment. So this our first deployment where we have been around to see what goes into preparing for deployment and also my first chance to take a tour of the boat.
The boat was actually pretty gross, so I took a lot of photos to share with you! I know that I knew absolutely nothing about the Navy or aircraft carriers before I met J., so I thought I would share some pictures with you guys! This is mostly for my non-Navy friends :)
J. takes his stuff to the boat in seabags (the green bags in the picture below). He also has a dark blue squadron bag and a suitcase. He had to pack the usual things like all of his uniforms, work out clothes, civilian clothes for when they pull into port, toiletries, etc. But he also has to pack things like a mattress pad for his bed, sheets, sleeping bag, towels, pillows, a fan, a reading light, his work computer, office supplies, cleaning supplies, hangers, his flying gear and MY TELEVISION (which better come home, unbroken). He will be sharing his room with three of his friends, and they are bringing an Xbox and Apple TV for entertainment.
Blah, I don't like seeing these all packed and ready to go ...
USS George Washington
Looking into J.'s room on the boat
It was kind of a weird shape, you go in the door and turn left immediately and this is your view
The beds. J. will be sharing his room with 3 of his friends.
Their sink and one of the "closets"
This is what Mr. S.'s bed looked like when we showed up. Those are USED linens. Not quite cruise ship quality here.
Their door with their squadron poster
One of the hallways on the boat ... again not quite cruise ship quality.
Looking the other way down the hall. All of the doors are like the one pictured above, you have to pick up your feet to walk through them or you will trip. Apparently, they sometimes have to do drills on the boat where they run down the hallways. I'd probably fall.
The smallest door I saw on the boat, leading up to the flight deck.
J. in the small door. It was seriously hard to crawl through.
Looking out over the bay from the flight deck.
The island (tower) and a crane.
The island and the flight deck. It would have been cool if there were some jets up there, but they all fly onto the carrier once it gets underway.
One of the kitchens on the boat - they are called Ward Rooms.
They have Coke products!
Tables in the Ward Room.
J.'s squadron is replacing VAQ-136, which flys the Prowler. They took over their spaces on the boat and this sign is leftover from when 136 was on the boat. If you look closely, you can see that someone put masking tap over the "P" to change it to "G" and over "36" to change it to "41." I love it.
Tower from the ground level.
All lit up at night.
So this is where J. will be spending a lot of time over the next few months. Certainly does not make me wish I was along for the ride :)
I am certainly not an expert on aircraft carriers, deployments, or the Navy but if you have any questions feel free to ask and I will try to get the answer for you!