I was in the navy for 8 years, and had the privilege of flying up to Bremerton Washington with some other people from my squadron. I was an enlisted yeoman, but had sea experience, because I was stationed on a submarine tender and a destroyer. My Skipper asked me if I wanted to fly up with him and work with him taking care of the secret message board, and any other things he might need, which of course I had to say yes.
We flew up to this little airport, and we were informed on the planes overhead speaker, that the airport had never had a plane of this size land at their airport before, so they had the local fire department, and rescue waiting just in case, and that was pretty wild landing and seeing all the fire trucks waiting just in case, and everything went fine!
I was used to smaller ships. A submarine tender usually has a crew of roughly 1,300 people, and a destroyer usually has a crew of roughly 300 or so at any time. The Nimitz did not have most of their squadrons and attachments on board, but they still had some. All night long the planes were taking off the deck from the catapult, and the first time I heard it and felt it, I could not believe it was so loud, and it felt like it moved the ship some in the water.
The ship was so gigantic inside. When I went into the hangar bay, it was like a stadium, the size of it, just so big. When I would have to walk from one end of the ship to the other, there are so many hatches, and you have to lift your legs up over them to get threw, and it is a ton of them all the time.
We were out to sea, and the ship would be heading back down to San Diego. We pulled out of Washington, and when we were out to sea, my skipper asked me if I wanted to see how the Admiral and the Chief of Staff live on board, since they were not on this cruise, all the rooms were empty, but my skipper was using one of them.
I was used to being with the regular guys on the ships I came from. Even on the carrier, it was 3 bunks high. And maybe 300 guys in my compartment. Way to many people for me actually. I prefer the Cadillac ride of a destroyer!
The skipper gave me a tour of all the staterooms, the person spaces, private showers, private kitchens, with home style refrigerators, stoves, personal chefs from the ship, everything an executive would need. Everything was military issue, but it was spectacular actually. On the ship, on most of the levels, those are spaces that are meant for everyone. Up higher, they call that Officer’s Country, where only the officers are supposed to be, unless you are on business. On top of the ship, they call that Flag Country, and That is where the Admiral, the CO and XO, Chief of Staff, those sort of people hang out. If your an officer, you should not be up their unless you are on business also. This is the room we work out of. Most of the time the top brass are always so serious and everything that is a drill, seams so real to them, because it has to be. But sometimes, they guys are cracking jokes, or making fun of the junior officers, and I’m the only guy in the room that is just their. One time in m squadron that had the tail hook problems in Vegas, had a picture up of a female LT officer, and they were taking turns throwing darts at the picture, which she never knew anything about, and she was married to a full bird Captain at the time.