Monday, October 31, 2011

Just Keep Pushing: Strong Heart, Determination required for Nimitz Sailor to apply to Navy Diver program

By  Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Johnathan Villalobos, USS NIMITZ (CVN 68)

Being here in Bremerton has taught me a lot about why I am in the Navy. My father served, my grandfather served, but I also wanted to do something for my family. I would later find out that there was something more to this than I realized. 

I’m a non-nuclear Electrician’s Mate; we’re in the Engineering Department.  What’s happening now with the EM rate is that we basically only have the option to change rates, since they are phasing out our rate. Some people don’t want to convert, so they’ll just get out, but that isn’t an option for me.

I’m from San Diego, so I’ve been in the water my whole life. Doing underwater rigging or even a rescue that can return a loved-one to a family is something I want to do; Navy Diving is what I have to pursue. I loved the idea that you’re working with such a tight knit group of people. So I asked myself, “What can I do to get this done while Nimitz is in DPIA?” I can swim in the morning, swim in the afternoon, and go to the naval hospitals to work on getting my Navy Diving package together.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate: Flight Deck Warrior

By:  Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Tyson Collinson

Air department is the bread and butter of an Aircraft Carrier and Aviation Boatwain’s Mate (Handling) , or ABHs, are found on the Flight Deck (V-1 Division) and the Hangar Bay (V-3 Division).  I have a little experience in the Hangar Bay, but my home as an ABH will forever be found on the Flight Deck.

You may have seen the commercials, pictures, posters, and our rate in movies. We are called “skittles” on the Flight Deck of an aircraft carrier. The color of jersey we wear represents the title we hold. Yellow shirts are Aircraft Directors who direct, taxi and move aircraft. Blue jerseys are Tractor Drivers, Elevator Operators, and Plane Handlers. Red is Crash and Salvage and Maintenance (the flight deck fire fighting team).

Then there’s me, the one wearing a Blue Float Coat and a Yellow jersey, the Tractor King. I’m in charge of all Ground Support Equipment on the flight deck and help out wherever needed.

I’ve heard the statement, “you pick your rate you pick your fate,” numerous times when we are spread thin across the flight deck, continuously laboring and pulling tow bars or lugging around 35 lbs at minimum. We have no choice but to operate effectively on little sleep after meals eaten in 15 minutes or less. You’re waiting to hear “Final-Final” come over the 5-MC indicating that you’re coming to the end of a smooth 16-hour workday, but an aircraft comes in for recovery.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Intelligence Specialist: Looking for the bad guys

By Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) James Barbour, USS NIMITZ (CVN 68)

Intelligence Specialist, the name speaks for itself…or at least it should. However, when I tell people my rating, the response I receive is generally one of confusion. Confusion for them because they aren’t quite sure what my job entails; confusion for me because I’m not sure how to explain my job without saying too much.  I’ve done the job for roughly about three years now though, so I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can safely tread the line between OPSEC violator and helpful informant.

The main thing, even if the only thing, to take from this is that Intelligence Specialists work and we work well.  The mission of CVIC (Carrier Intelligence Center) while underway is to collect, disseminate, interpret and provide necessary information to warfare commanders by utilizing a multitude of sources and skill sets.  

During our 2009-2010 deployment, our work provided troops on the ground with vital data on possible IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).   CVIC collects data through all available sources and uses other means to verify the gathered data. When the location of the potential target is confirmed, strike analysts determine what type of weaponry would be best to neutralize the target and pass that information onto the ship’s Aviation Ordnancemen.  Once a weapon has been determined and strapped onto the jet, the pilots take-off to do their job. Once the pilots return, they come to CVIC so that we can verify it all.

With such a serious job, it’s funny that being a member of the Nimitz Honor Guard is how I spend my downtime. It’s a curricular activity that I find to be absolutely fulfilling because of what it means to the people you are performing for. Whether it’s a commissioning or a retirement ceremony, it’s a pivotal point in a shipmate’s career that you are being allowed to share with them and make special. I’ve done dozens of ceremonies since joining the military in September 2005 and I never get tired of that feeling I get while performing during military events.