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Life aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier while training off San Diego’s coast

CBS 8 was given a chance to board the aircraft carrier for two days while at sea to get an inside look at life aboard the ship.

SAN DIEGO — The U.S.S. Nimitz embarked on a training mission Tuesday about 100 miles off San Diego’s shore to get ready for a future deployment.   

CBS 8 was given a chance to board the aircraft carrier for two days while at sea to get an inside look at life aboard the ship. 

With arrested landings and catapult takeoffs, it’s full throttle on the carrier’s flight deck during air operations. 

“So much adrenaline goes on up here,” said E-3 Airman, Anthony Johnston. 

These impressive men and women are proudly serving their country. 

“I am a United States sailor. I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” chanted a dozen sailors in the media department, while reciting the ‘Sailor’s Creed,’ a ritual they perform every morning. 

“It’s a great honor,” said 3rd class petty officer, Markus Owens. “It comes with a lot of integrity and respect,” 

Every sailor on board has a job to do. 

“I load bombs or torpedoes and missiles to the aircraft,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman, Marshania Thomas. “It’s a pretty heavy-duty job, I’m not going to lie to you,” 

Each crew member is part of a team with a common goal. 

“It feels great actually, you know, being a part of something bigger than myself,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate, Omari Houston. 

The Nimitz crew is working to protect our nation, keeping it safe and secure. 

“I think it’s the dominant capability and capacity in the entire Joint Force we have in the inventory because it’s mobile and it’s lethal,” said Rear Admiral, Christopher Sweeney of Strike Group 11.   

CBS 8 had the privilege of spending two days with the crew while underway on a training mission as they ramp up their readiness for deployment in December.   

They gave us an inside look into the day-to-day operations of the oldest aircraft carrier in the Navy fleet and mother ship of its class, the U.S.S. Nimitz. 

“We call it ‘crawl, walk, run,’” said Rear Admiral Sweeney. “We’re really trying to get to the run phase here.” 

Each task is crucial to making a ship as big as this one run smoothly. E-3 Airman Anthony Johnston works on the flight deck chocking and chaining the aircraft.   

We caught up with him as he was clearing debris from what’s called the ‘padeyes,’ which are used to chain the aircraft in place. 

“They’re there to stabilize and secure the aircraft, so when we’re out to sea, it gets really bumpy and we want to make sure that the aircraft doesn’t move,” said E-3 Airman Johnston. 

And when we talked with 3rd class petty officer Markus Owens, he was testing the flight deck’s jet blast deflectors, which are platforms that rise up behind the planes to protect people and equipment on the flight deck during takeoffs.  For him, serving in the Navy is something special. 

“Honor, courage, commitment,” said E-3 Airman Owens. “Just holding yourself with a certain amount of respect and then setting that standard.” 

With a crew of 5,000 strong, the mess hall is a busy place. 

“We got roast beef and gravy, some quinoa rice, some corn,” said MM1 Caleb Richards. 

And meal prep in the galley is one very big job. 

“It’s always very busy,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Seferino Pessina.  “Not one person is just doing one thing.  They’re always doing multiple things.” 

Every sailor on the ship depends on one another.  MM1 Richards works down below with the nuclear reactors that power everything on the ship.  “Everything we do down there makes sure that everything up here gets to run,” said MM1 Richards. 

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sydney Moses works in the Medical Department taking care of the sick.  “It’s pretty much go, go, go with us,” said HM2 Moses.  “We never stop in here.” 

They’re all a piece to the puzzle, making the Nimitz a formidable force in the Navy’s fleet.  And for Rear Admiral Sweeney, he knows the sacrifice his sailors make while serving. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of the men and women on this ship,” said Rear Admiral Sweeney.  “It’s really the sailors that make this Strike Group go round and round.” 

As they train at sea over the next few weeks, these hearty sailors know they’re part of a long-standing tradition, one that comes with honor and respect. 

“I love the Nimitz.  It’s a good ship,” said E-3 Airman Johnston.  “The community, everyone in here is good vibes and everything.  I love it.” 

“It’s pretty cool, said AOAN Thomas.  “I wouldn’t have any other job because I get to go home to my parents and tell them, ‘You know, this is what I do.’” 

The U.S.S. Nimitz and its crew will be training at sea with Strike Group 11 for several weeks as they work up to readiness for their deployment in December 2022. 

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