Scoop Deck blogger Lance M. Bacon just completed a 24-hour embark aboard the carrier Harry S Truman. This is the play-by-play.
Scoop Deck has laid down the challenge. We have a couple of open hours, and we want to spend them with some deck plate leaders, some sailors who are never in the spotlight and some petty officers who are making a big difference.
MC1 (SW/AW) Denise Davis of the public affairs office answered that challenge well.
We started by having dinner with “the Bull,” Ens. Tim Cerny. The Bull is the senior ensign in the command. This mustang has 15 years under his belt, and is sporting dolphins and a diver on his uniform. A very interesting combination to see on a carrier, to say the least. Turns out he is using a tour on the carrier to get some LDO quals.
We talked at length about the forthcoming smoking ban on submarines and random breathalyzer tests done by Truman’s command. He’s against the ban, though he doesn’t smoke, and he’s 100-percent behind the breathalyzers.
I don’t want anyone showing up for work drunk. Besides the lack of professionalism, this is a dangerous place and you can get someone hurt in a hurry.”
Scoop Deck hopes the ensigns aboard Truman know how fortunate they are to have a Bull like Cerny. He certainly has wisdom well beyond his butter bars.
Next, I popped in to meet SN Danielle Overstreet. She handles all sewing, alterations and embroidery for the ship. That includes putting the names on the ball caps of all new sailors reporting aboard; embroidery of squadron and department logos on everything from tablecloths to seat covers; and alterations/promotions for 5,000 sailors and officers.
This force of one keeps the sailors squared away and the ship looking classy. Overstreet hopes to soon transition into corpsman training. When she does, she should have no problem handling needles.
Next, we step into the dark and cramped confines of the carrier air traffic control center to meet AC1 (AW/FMF) Stephen Lane, the air ops chief. Here, 14 ever-attentive sailors control and deconflict upward of 20 aircraft. At any moment a situation can arise – diverging courses, radio problems, restricted airspaces, bad weather, malfunctions or emergencies. And emergencies happen often, from “emergency fuel” declarations to stabilizer problems to engine failures.
Lane, a 12-year veteran, takes it in calm stride. “That’s why we’re here – to get them home. It just so happens that their home is a runway that’s always moving.”
The work here is difficult, it is intense, and if offers no room for error. And that’s exactly how Lane likes it.
“This is the most exciting job in the Navy, and the carrier is where it’s at.”