(Francisco recently sent us the second installment of his Deployment Diary onboard the USS Nimitz. Click on the pictures to enlarge. His ship is the aircraft carrier behind the lead ship in the top photo.)
I refer to everyday as the same day. While being out to sea you lose track of time and you may even loose track on what day it is. I work the night shift so my schedule is backwards from the majority of the ship. Trying to sleep during the day can be a challenge. People are always coming in and out of our berthing area, and in addition to that, our berthing is right below the hangar bay. I count my blessings because when I first checked on board, my berthing was right below the flight deck. Imagine trying to sleep while F-18's are landing above you.
There are two reasons why I could get woken up while I am sleeping. The first is that there could be a man overboard drill, meaning I'll have five minutes to get to the forward part of the ship and muster with my division. If a man falls overboard, we want to make sure everyone is accounted for, so we can then tell who fell. The second reason I could get awakened is a low visibility watch. If there is poor visibility outside, I have to go to the most forward part of the ship and act as a lookout. I have had to do this only once. I could also get woken up if we have general quarters, which is an emergency, perhaps a possible attack, and I need to get to my repair locker so I can help fight any fires.
On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I have to be up by 1500 because I have math class at 1530. The Navy flies college professors out to the ship so that we can continue our education. Right now, I am taking college algebra through Central Texas University. It takes me about a half hour to get ready and about a minute to get to class. After class is over, I head to the mess decks to grab some fine Navy food. I usually finish eating by 1830. I then head to the front of the ship to muster with my division. This is where our chain of command keeps us informed on our work load, tasks for the people on the night shift, changes in our schedule... the list could go on. After we are done mustering, I head over to my work center which is two decks up from the hanger bay. I head to my desk, check my e-mail, and get briefed by my direct boss on what needs to be accomplished for the night. During the night, I am in charge of issuing high priority airplane parts to the squadrons, work on various financial reports, or if a squadron needs an engine, I would be tasked with driving a forklift to get the engine from hanger bay three. Our job is to support the air wing with the parts that they need. Bottomline is, if we don't do our job, the planes can't take off. It is a team effort. Our ship is a national asset, and our job is to take the fight to the enemy so we don't have to face them at home. I am also tasked with working on the flight deck when we receive our groceries. This is a big event since we get hundreds of pallets of groceries. This is challenging because it is rather toasty on the flight deck, the temperature can climb all the way up to 125. So as you can see I have a wide variety of jobs. The job I most enjoy is fire fighting in our repair locker. We are trained to save the ship and to fight the fire until the very end. Before I know it, it is already 0700, time to muster with the morning crew, head back to my work center to do a turnover. I brief them on all of the night's events and any problems that I had. After this is done, I take a Navy shower, head to my rack, and usually read. I fall asleep and get ready to do it all over again.