02-28-2014 08:37 AM
By Analisa Farias,
Social Media Community Manager
“Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!” a crewman yells over the cacophony of roaring engines. Hand signals accompany his muffled announcement. This is definitely unlike any other flight experience I’ve had. A double layer of ear protection and the absence of windows drive home this fact.
I cling to my shoulder harness. I remind myself to breathe. And the aircraft launches into the sky to deliver me to the USS Carl Vinson.
This was the beginning of my brief immersion into the Navy. About 5,000 sailors serve aboard this aircraft carrier, and for one day, I joined their ranks.
I have long respected the men and women who serve in our nation’s armed forces. But my 24 hours aboard the Carl Vinson gave me a heightened appreciation for them and their sacrifices.
I was a rare civilian witness to the precise choreography — from tailhook landings to catapult takeoffs — on the flight deck. Every person had a purpose, and if one sailor doesn’t perform, the results would be catastrophic. The amount of discipline and focus displayed by the service members aboard the Carl Vinson was truly admirable. No matter the job, these sailors did it with pride.
It was hard to fathom how crew members power through grueling shifts that can last more than 15 hours, sometimes on little sleep, or how they adjust to sleeping on racks stacked three high with paper-thin mattresses for months at a stretch.
Nevertheless, without complaint or hesitation, the sailors did what it took to get the job done. Their level of dedication was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
And these sailors are the reason USAA exists.
I never did get my sea legs aboard the USS Carl Vinson, but I couldn’t be more proud to serve its crew and other service members back on dry land at USAA.
No Department of Defense or government agency endorsement.
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