Wednesday, September 25, 2013

To the Nimitz Fallen

Me, a thousand feet up, shooting video of USMS Kaiser, which transferred biofuel to the other ships in the formation as part of the global initiative to wean ourselves off of foreign oil. Photo by MC3 Ryan Mayes.

I left the Nimitz several months ago, but my friends are still there.

They've seen their 6-month deployment, that started in March in Everett, Washington, extended to cover the conflict in Syria.  In the frenzy of reporting, you'll rarely hear about these Sailors, and those in the ships that make up the strike group.

And you definitely won't hear about how they feel about 
losing two of their own to a helicopter crash several days ago.

My former boss, MC2 Jacquelyn  Childs, put things in perspective with her recent Facebook statement.  She is still deployed to USS Nimitz.  She has a young son, and she, like many Sailors, is missing many special moments in his life.  Here's what she said:

I  was thinking this morning how selfish I've been. 
All I've been thinking about is wanting to go home and how 'unfair' this all is... but recent events have helped me realize that some heroes won't ever make it home... If I'm asked to stand the watch a little longer, it's the least I can do because eventually I will get home, I will see my family again and I'm so grateful for that blessing. And I'm especially grateful for the sacrifices of our fallen service members and their families.

MC2 Childs works from her office: any space on the floor.

Childs and I have very different personalities, and we definitely got into it a couple of times when I was running the newspaper.  That said, God help the Media department when she's not there.

I've never seen a harder worker.  I've never worked with someone so focused on quality product.

Her post hit home, because I am guilty of losing perspective.  I left the Nimitz to attend Syracuse University, missed all this really crappy stuff they're going through, and I get pissed when the shower goes cold too quick.  I get annoyed at the dumb freshman walking around campus.  ETC ETC ETC. 

Thanks Childs, for reminding me what's really important in life.  Hang in there, and stay safe.

From our Carrier Strike Group commander:

Two members of our team have been lost today. A helicopter crash occurred during a daytime transfer of personal and was not the result of any sort of hostile activity. My heart is breaking for the families and loved ones of our fallen warriors, and I know they will be in the thoughts and prayers of the entire strike group.

I am grateful for the heroic efforts of Warrior Team 11 as they repeatedly searched the area for our shipmates, day and night. 

This unfortunate incident is still under investigation, with the goal of finding out exactly what happened and why, so we can prevent any future accidents. 

Sincerely, Mike White.

(From USS Nimitz Facebook page)  

Here's the latest story from the San Diego Union Tribune.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Syracuse University - It begins

I made it!  The journey started in Thailand and landed me in New York's Syracuse University.  For the next nine months I'll attend one of the top media schools in the country.  

  A stopover in my home state of Maryland meant good times with Mama... (she's a black belt)

and epic newspaper reading with Dadeo.

 I've been taking advantage of the warm weather while it lasts.  Central New York has a lot of lakes... 

 and mountain bike trails.  A deer pauses to marvel at my biking skills.

 Okay two things:

1.  The Navy is the only branch to attend Syracuse this year.  In a time of tight budgets, our top folks found a way to keep the program going.  This is why Navy is the best branch.

2.  The instructors here are top of their game.  I've attended several colleges, and Syracuse professors have a much higher level of knowledge and more importantly, passion, about their subjects.

This room displays photos and backgrounds of our communications instructors.  They've got pretty heavy credentials.  Our Sound for Picture instructor worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He's holding a voluntary workshop for us on Saturday.  Who wouldn't want to go to that?

This is Al.  He worked with us on a video refresher course just before regular classes started on Monday.  Here he demonstrates how to be a badass camera operator, while I document the event.

Al shows us creative ways to attach lights to everything in sight.

The Sailors and their families enjoy lovely all-you-can-eat snow crab legs!

Getting destroyed in my first broadcast assignment.   I used to think I could write.

The only downside so far has been this beast.  I am not a fan of shoulder mounted cameras.  Unless you've been using them for years, they're just too bulky and awkward to be effective storytelling tools.  We were also assigned a Nikon D800 DSLR.  I will attempt to shoot documentary video with that instead.

More to come, including several posts from deployed Sailors!


Location: Syracuse, NY   Miles traveled:  5,638