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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Flat Toppers: On the USS Nimitz, young people do serious jobs

Rethan Robison was a 21-year-old car mechanic living in San Antonio, Texas when he decided to join the Navy. Now his shop is at the very back of a thousand-foot long, 97,000-ton, $8.5-billion nuclear-powered instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/marine/flat-toppers-on-the-uss-nimitz-young-people-do-serious-jobs/
17 REPLIES 17
fueledbymetal
Advanced Driver

Excellent article! I spent a couple of years on CVN 71 prior to college and it was definitely an invaluable experience. The only thing I’d like to clarify is that the berthing and dining areas in the pictures are for officers and VIPs. The crew dined and lived in much less extravagant and more cramped quarters. 🍺
drjim
Advanced Driver

Thanks for the great article, Aaron. I've been on the <i>Nimitz</i> a few times for a former employer. I felt the same way about all the people I met, 100% Great people.
MRFIXIT1599
Intermediate Driver

Looking back, I now think I understand why at 20 years old, I was crawling into a nuclear missile. Modules needed to be swapped out for maintenance. I was too young and naive to realize that doing so, in the presence of nuclear warheads only a few feet away from me might be dangerous. I'm sure not doing that at 50. The experience got me a damn good job afterwards, so I can't really complain.
compaqdeskpro
Detailer

It's almost as big as a 76 Fleetwood Talisman.
BillHanlon
Intermediate Driver

I don't remember the exact year, but somewhere around 1961 Hot Rod Magazine had an article that covered moving an aircraft carrier from one port to another on the west coast. For some reason HRM was invited along for the ride.

There were no aircraft on board, so the crew were allowed to have their automobiles loaded aboard for this permanent change of bases. HRM bought one of the crews cars, a late 40's or early 50's Dodge or Plymouth 4 door sedan if I remember right, and convinced the Navy to catapult it off the front end of the ship. Had a nice picture of it in HRM. Wish I still had a copy of that.
TomBrattin
Intermediate Driver

Great story. My son just got aboard the Nimitz for this sailing after spending two years in the various schools necessary to turn him into a nuclear machinist mate. This trip was his first time at sea. Now he will spend the next 12-18 months getting qualified on this boat. He does not know if he will ride it to decommissioning in a couple of years, or get reassigned to one of the newer boats.
DaveB
Detailer

awesome article!
bblhed
Instructor

Skimmer.
mtgibby
Pit Crew

Great article! I spent ten years on fast attack subs before pinning on ensign bars and reporting to my aviation squadron. I did one tour on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with my S-3B squadron. What a huge difference from the sub! 5000+ sailors doing outstanding work for our nation!

I had the opportunity to bring my wife and father onboard for a 3 day Tiger Cruise from Mayport, FL to Virginia Beach, VA at the end of our deployment. Not exactly the 'Love Boat' and my wife was quickly bored to tears!
MR
Intermediate Driver

Great article!
My Dad did a couple of years ROTC then joined the Navy in 1954.
He always jokes about serving on the "U.S.S. Neverfloat" since his whole tour was dockside at Norfolk VA.
67-BGT
Pit Crew

Thanks, great pic’s and story. Go Navy
PRScott
Instructor

Navy has the best toys !
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Great article. Very cool you got to be on the Nimitz. Very cool story.

We have the National Museum of the Pacific War not too far from Austin, TX in Fredericksburg which is the town where he was born.
https://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/

All respect to our brave Men & Women who serve in the Navy!
njunear
New Driver

Oh how this brings back memories from my youth. I was a welding inspector at Newport News Shipbuilding in the early 1970s while the Nimitz was under construction and have been in places on her that cannot even access today. I worked out of an office right next to where they now overhaul and test the jet engines. I was there when she was "launched" and still employed when she took to sea. It is very difficult to describe to someone just how large and complex a machine the Nimitz is. Thank you Aaron for a glimpse into her today.
wildcat1970
New Driver

Larry the Cable Guy did an episode about this. Was unbelievable, the ship and the crew!!!
Flashman
Technician

"floatation"?
SAG
Technician

Thumbs up!
to those who 'Do & have'
Served