Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This is your brain on acronyms

I started Indoctrination classes yesterday.  Over the next three weeks I'll move to various classrooms learning ship communications, damage control, CPR, first aid, firefighting, and more.  These are the crucial first steps towards earning the coveted (and now required) surface and air warfare qualifications.

I was immediately stunned by the number of acronyms dropped by the instructors.  Many in the class were already petty officers coming from different duty stations.  It was review for them.  It was NOT for me.  I had to be "that question guy" in order to keep up.

Here's a sample:


This is two days (out of three weeks) worth of classes.  Half days really...

We were tested the same day (ten failed) and did well with a 92%.  Not bad considering the first hour was like a scene from Men In Black 2.  You'll have no trouble figuring out which role I play.

Watch now!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nimitz, the power of one

Plastic sheets hanging in hangar bay three will catch fire suppressant spraying from the ceiling during an INSURV test. 
I shot an AFFF demo that utilized hoses and this ceiling system.

Recently the USS Nimitz absolutely crushed its INSURV, or Inspection Survey.  Over one hundred inspectors came aboard for one week to check every area of the ship of ensure sea readiness.  The crew had been preparing for this long before I arrived, and it all paid off in high marks from the inspection teams.  Many of the inspectors said they'd never seen such energy, focus, and skill.

The media department created training videos with the Nimitz's executive officer, called XO's Hour of Power, that highlighted areas that needed work.  These videos were played through the ship's television station to get the message out to the entire crew.  (we were the first to do this)

As the inspectors arrived, a high energy video played on a big screen showing everything the Sailors had done to prepare.  This helped to create a tone that would carry into the week and blow the inspectors away.

The USS Nimitz is now the ship to emulate.

Some of you have expressed interest in what I'm doing as an MC.  Arriving during INSURV meant I didn't do much MC related.  My work consisted of helping to get the ship ready for inspection.  (clean, take out every type of trash imaginable, label electrical gear)

I wasn't alone.  Everyone around me was doing "unique" stuff.  Here the media guys secure a box full of gear to get it sea-ready.  I don't know what Cotter's doing.

I saw AC2 Derse eating lunch one day before INSURV, and asked if I could take her photo.  She was covered in paint but still smiling.  I asked what her job was, and she responded "air traffic controller".

MCSN Siniff, a photographer, volunteered to leave the media center to help paint.  They worked him pretty hard.  Good on ya!

YN3 Nguyen is our department's Yeoman.  Usually he works with...paper.  During INSURV prep he helped cut wire to tie boxes down.  Looks professional doesn't he?

And that leads into what I've noticed from my short time here.  Look, I realize that there are far more uncomfortable places a servicemember could live.  But it's a lifestyle that wears people out.  I see it everywhere.

What stands out to me are the little positive acts coming from others.  It's the guys/gals working way out of their comfort zone to get a job done.  It's the random Sailor helping someone they don't know carry a cabinet up the stairs.  Or it's a friendly grin from an officer before I'm awake enough to return it.

I choose to amplify these experiences, and draw strength from knowing that my shipmates are all in it with me.  They're getting it done, and so will I.

I'll get some more shots of where I work.  Here, the XO hosts Hour of Power while Wolfe works on another video project. 

I've been asked to show a longer shot of the berthing.  It's too tight in here to get any wider.  I hope this gives you a better idea of where I sleep.  And I hope it makes you love your bed!


Okay, in a recent post I said my buddy Marty was heading out to dive school as part of his Combat Camera training.  He'll be there a few weeks, and I'll be posting updates as he gives them to me.  It's motivation for him, and entertainment for us!

The first morning he was welcomed with 3 hours of physical training.  From 6am to 9am his class of about 20 got the crap beat out of them.  I remember words like "sand run", "bay swim", "750 burpees", and "I can't feel my body".  Their days run from 4:30am to about 8pm.  Much of their time is spent in classes learning all about cool dive stuff.  And yes, there's homework.

Three have dropped out already.

Let's hear some support!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Don't board without em

Alright so I've been aboard the USS Nimitz for about three weeks.  I'm no seasoned Sailor, but I already know there's a few things you NEED to have.  Here we go:

1.  dryer sheets - Stuff a few in your boots to keep em fresh. Think about your shipmates stinky.

2.  earplugs - Yes, I have a snorer above me.  He's an angry snorer, too. Your ship should have plugs.

3.  Febreeze Sport - This stuff smells amazing, and gets you a couple more days in the same uniform.  (this is not a replacement for washing laundry!)

4.  travel coffee mug -  This way you can drink coffee all day! (must be a closed container)

5.  multivitamins - I HATE getting sick.  It stopped being cool in 6th grade.  Take one a day.

6.  soft toilet paper -  The heads tend to run out, and it's scratchy anyway.

7.  hand sanitizer - I'm no germ freak, but I'm not touching that apple after opening four hatches to get to it.  Also, the heads run out of soap sometimes.

8.  pillow/blanket - Find out how comfortable the assigned stuff is, and then plan on buying the most comfortable pillow/sheets/blanket you can find.  Don't be afraid to spend some money.  Make it so you look forward to getting in your rack.

9.  an ID holder - Onboard the Nimitz, if you want to eat in civvies, you have to hang your military ID from your neck, outside the clothes.

Ladderwell Etiquette

Yes, the above photo has relevance to this post.  Maneuvering the hundreds of stairs on a ship is kind of like arriving at a four-way traffic stop.  There are rules.  Here's another list:

1.  A higher rank goes first in case of a tie (one at top and one at bottom).

2.  Groups heading the same direction should be aware of those waiting at the other side.  Two or three at a time is ok, but after that, break it up to allow others to go the opposite way.  Shouting "ladder up!" or "ladder down"  is a good way to get attention.

3.  Everyone clears the way for anyone carrying something.

4.  Look up or down before getting on the stairs.  There may already be someone on them!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

You got this

Marty Carey (the guy on the right in the back) is a Navy Combat Cameraman. He leaves for his 6-week dive school tomorrow. We're in Pacific Beach throwing him a have-fun-don't-drown party.  Get some!

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Abandon ship!

Wray and I are staying at the 500 West Hotel in downtown San Diego for the weekend. It's actually a hostel, which means low cost, small rooms, and community (but private) bathrooms. A reviewer recently wrote that he got tired of walking across the hall to use his (private) bathroom.

I bet he's never lived on a carrier.

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The smell of linen

This is the laundrymat across the street from the ship. It's free, but you have to keep an eye on your stuff. Is this the most boring post ever? I don't care, because I love mobile blogging!


Don't wait until Sunday night to do laundry!

Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This is Epic

I now own the new Samsung Epic 4G GalaxyS smartphone. It's connected me to a whole new world of technological marvels, including mobile blogging! This post, including the photos, is sent from it.
Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G

*** I'm on the laptop now, and can see a couple minor issues with this mobile stuff.  I can't caption, center, or correct any of the photos.  I'll be looking into possible fixes for that.  The first photo is of the elevator used to raise and lower aircraft.  The second is my cell's cartoon function.

Either way, the flexibility my new best friend offers me is incredible.

Excuse me...Epic.