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. 🍺
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.