J. got home from his summer patrol last Friday ... and we turned around and got right back on the USS George Washington at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning! Sometimes the carrier's have special days where friends and family members can come aboard and see what it is like to live on the ship - Friends and Family Day. I had been on the carrier before (I blogged about it here), but had never done a Friends and Family Day. We had to be on board by 7:00 a.m. and we were underway at 8:00.
Before boarding the carrier
Breakfast in the Hangar Bay (this is not typical - usually the sailors eat in wardrooms and the hangar bay is full of airplanes!)
I had three goals for the day ... (1) See a jet take off and land on the carrier, (2) ride the elevator, and (3) find the onboard Starbucks!
Goal #3 = complete.
With our coffee in the ward room ... unfortunately, it was not as good as the real deal :(
Watching the boat get underway from the flight deck
On the flight deck
The center line of the "runway" on the flight deck
Taking the flag pole down for flight ops
J. and I with the open sea in the background
In the CATCC - or air traffic control for all you non-Navy folks. The screen on the far left shows what is going on on the flight deck and the two screens in the middle have the flight ops for the day. It tells you what jet is going up (they are all numbered), who is flying it and when they take off and land.
Every night and in bad weather, each squadron has a representative sitting in CATCC if someone from their squadron is flying. That's our Shadowhawk seat with the rising sun on it!
Riding the elevator from the flight deck to the hangar bay! It went SO fast.
Mrs. S. and I
Just hanging out at hangar bay level ... over the ocean. No big deal.
The tower from the elevator on hangar bay level.
Mr. S., J., and Mr. Bag-O riding the elevator. Apparently this is not something they get to do everyday. Although it would be SO much easier than running up and down those ladder stairwells all day.
Mrs. Bag-O, Mrs. S and I riding the elevator back to the flight deck
Goal #2 = check.
After our elevator rides, we got spots for the air show.
Testing the JBD (jet blast deflector)
FOD walk down ... they complete this before all flight ops. They are looking for foreign debris on the flight deck that might blow into a jet intake.
Talons coming in for a touch and go ...
and he's off again
Chippie's coming in for an arrested landing (trap)
On the wire!
The jet makes the wire look like a piece of elastic when it snaps forward
Getting ready to take off again
Off the boat
Goal #1 = complete.
Fly by with a jet from each of the 6 squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 5
And then the Destroyers did a gun demonstration for us
After the sea power demonstration, we headed back down into the hangar bay for lunch and then took an afternoon nap.
I took this video while we were waiting in line for lunch. The GW was moving! J. says that it doesn't typically move this fast.
It was a really cool experience to go out on the carrier for a day. It was clearly not a typical working day, but I just could not imagine being on that boat every single day. I have a whole new level of respect for the sailors that spend months at a time deployed on an aircraft carrier.
And now, every time J. tells me he is flying on deployment, I will have a clear picture in my head of him being shot off the end of the flight deck. Yikes.