Monday afternoon we drove six and a half hours to Norfolk, Virginia and Tuesday morning at five am we boarded a Naval ship the USS Bataan with our oldest son Joshua. Josh's ship is getting ready to head out for seven months. Family day is the Navy's way for the family members to see what their loved ones are going to be doing while they are separated.
Josh is an Air Traffic Controller for the Navy and it was eye opening to see the responsibilities these young men and women have. Actually for each and every person on the ship. It ran as smooth as a clock even with the extra several hundred civilians. I can't imagine trying to do my job with hundreds of people poking their heads in, asking questions, getting in the way, and just plain slowing me down but every one of these sailors did it with a great attitude. I met the captain of the Bataan-- a good natured man that you never would have guessed held the responsibility of a Naval ship on his shoulders.
What a busy day!
The ship was hopping when we walked on. The crew was helpful and in high spirits. It was a great reminder to me of why I am so patriotic and why I am so proud of my son. I take my hat off to each and everyone of these men and women who have given years of their lives so that I can live in a country that is free and safe.
Their lives are not luxury. They work in small areas, their
halls can barely fit two people passing, they have to climb
up two ladders and down three just to get to the mess hall,
they sleep in what they call coffins and they do it without
complaint because they love the USA.
(This is the halls and the doors that you must step through to get anywhere on the ship)
(To the left are the the 'coffins'. I know the next time I want to complain that my bedroom is too small I'll think twice on it!)
(To the right is the mess hall)
This pully system is what drops and draws up the anchor. To give you an idea of the size of this chain, each link weights 380 pounds. There are two of these anchors stationed sided by side. These are dropped when they are in the ocean not when they are docked. They use the mooring lines to tie to the docks.
Check back in a few days for some more pictures from the USS Bataan!