Browsing: Life at Sea

The Ronald Reagan has its own cafe. // U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Trevor Welsh On Jan. 31 a new coffee shop opened up on the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan. Apparently Hellcat Café, as it’s called, is popular enough to draw lines several sailors deep.  Cafés on other carriers have also been notably successful. However, there’s just one problem: the name. Granted, Hellcat Café has a nice ring to it, and it’s a clever reference to the 1957 submarine flick “Hellcats of the Navy” which starred Reagan. There are, however, other monikers that could have worked.…

Adm. John Harvey learned about the controversial, four-year-old shipboard videos co-produced by Capt. Owen Honors on Dec. 31 — the day before they were published for the first time outside the skin of the carrier Enterprise — and “immediately ordered an investigation,” he says in a Jan. 7 post on his command blog. Harvey also says he reviewed the videotapes published online by Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot newspaper that weekend and then made his controversial decision to fire Honors, who’d graduated from executive officer — his position when the sometimes-racy, meant-to-be-humorous  short films were produced — to become the 49-year-old carrier’s commanding…

On a cloudy but humid tropical day, several dozen sailors, donning crisp uniforms, gathered on aircraft carrier Carl Vinson’s port side elevator No. 4 as the ship maneuvered in the waters of the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. On a table covered with a blue cloth sat urns of different sizes and colors – 43 in all – carrying the cremains of former service members and military spouses. The honor platoon and rifle platoon lined up for the burial-at-sea ceremony on Dec. 27. With calm winds and flat seas, a trio of chaplains with the ship and Carrier Strike Group 1…

The Navy didn’t mince words in its official reaction to Capt. Owen Honors’ role in the creation of what are viewed by many as overly suggestive or inappropriate videos — meant to be humorous — that were broadcast aboard the carrier Enterprise during his run as XO back in 2006-2007. “Those in command … are held accountable for setting the proper tone and upholding the standards of honor, courage and commitment that we expect sailors to exemplify,” said Cmdr. Chris Sims, spokesman for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. You won’t find any such criticism on a Facebook page, “We Support Captain…

As the clock turns midnight on Jan. 1, quartermasters on the bridges of Navy warships will scribble a new day entry in the deck log entry under a red-filtered desk lamp. It’s an old Navy tradition to write the New Years new day entry in verse and, while it may not always be Shakespeare, it is at least creative. Below is the Jan. 1, 2004, new day entry for the destroyer Cole, which was on its first deployment after the 2001 attacks that killed 17 of its sailors, as posted on the Naval History and Heritage Command’s website:

The carrier George Washington had a special holiday surprise this year courtesy of North Korea. While the Navy says the carrier was scheduled to participate in exercises with Japan, the plan changed in the wake of North Korea’s bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. (That situation has become even more tense today.) So instead of celebrating a nice Thanksgiving at home, the George Washington headed to the Yellow Sea to flex our national biceps for North Korea. Do you think they’ll be impressed? But despite the less than ideal Thanksgiving circumstances, the culinary specialists tried their best to…

To follow up on a discussion from earlier in the week about Navy recruiting commercials, it seemed necessary to illustrate the point with this week’s bored sailor video. Remember a few years ago when the Navy purchased the rights to Godsmack’s then-hit song Awake? Despite the jokes about the commercials, the heavy guitar riff soon became not identified with the band’s hit single but with Navy recruiting efforts. In other words, whoever pushed to purchase the rights to the song for the Navy’s commercials had pulled off a stroke of marketing genius. Godsmack’s star faded somewhat in the wake of…

Navy recruiting ads are something of a running joke in the fleet, especially among junior enlisted personnel. The commercials invariably show sailors performing the most exciting and extraordinary tasks they perform throughout the world every day. Often those commercials are backdropped by a soundtrack of either shredding guitar or Saving Private Ryan-esque rolling snare drums and blaring trumpets. But what the commercials don’t show are the rather mundane and monotonous tasks sailors perform on a day-to-day basis, even though those tasks are every bit as vital as oft-used video clips of SEALs hitting the beach or DDGs test-firing SM3s. They…

Ace reporter and newest Center of Excellence fellow Sam Fellman last week blew the lid off of the burgeoning gourmet coffee dependence among thousands of carrier crew members. The story, posted on the Navy Times website, exposed that carriers throughout the fleet were training SHs to run espresso machines, opening gourmet coffee shops and offering the highly addictive substance to sailors. Well, the story blew up on our Facebook page and was soon being tweeted around the Twittersphere. The revelations have been drawing criticism from old salts. “You have got to be sh****** me!” one Facebook commenter said. Another said:…

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