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In July 2017, the United States military officially commissioned its largest aircraft carrier, the Uss Gerald R Ford.
This massive carrier costs nearly 13 billion dollars and took nearly four years for Newport News shipbuilding to construct.
Though this 1100 foot long vessel is the biggest in the world.
Life aboard the Gerald R Ford will be quite similar to any other modern aircraft carrier.
For the 4 500 crew members assigned to the ship, things start with removing The Mooring lines that hold it to the dock.
For a ship of this type, Mooring lines can be as thick as a man’s arm and weigh thousands of pounds.
For this reason, it can take a significant amount of time to prepare the ship to move away from the docks.
Once underway, the ship requires assistance in order to navigate out of the shallow water.
Miss is typically performed by a team of tugboats who push and pull the larger ship until it is out in deeper water.
Despite the powerful engines being able to push the Gerald R Ford up to speeds of more than 35 miles per hour, its traditional Rudder system cannot turn effectively when moving at slower speeds.
Once clear of the docks and any underwater obstacles, the aircraft carrier can continue out to sea under its own power.
The opportunity to command is probably one of the most precious opportunities we have in the military service, and to command such a fine crew that has worked very, very hard and over 2 600 folks that all kind of look uh to me-
But I also look to them, um- to do all the great things that they’ve been trained to do.
So I look at it as truly a team effort, proudly to be uh, so to speak, the captain of the team.
But uh, for the team to function, every member of the team has to perform.
For as long as jet planes have been operating from aircraft carriers, it has been up to the carrier Crews to meticulously inspect the deck for what’s known as a foreign object debris.
These fod walks take place daily and involve checking all parts of the deck for anything that might be accidentally stuck into an aircraft jet intake.
Daily operations aboard a carrier Flight Deck can knock bolts, pieces of metal and various other objects free from Planes, machinery and more.
Any of these items could disable a multi-million dollar plane in seconds if it passes through one of the engines unexpectedly.
The only solution to such a problem is to carefully search every inch of the deck and turn in any loose items to crew leaders.
The heart of any aircraft carrier is the navigation bridge.
As with previous carrier designs, the Uss Gerald R Ford’s bridge is located on a 555 metric ton Island, situated on the ship’s deck as the tallest part of the ship.
This is where most of the air control and navigation takes place.
It is also where the radar and communication antennas are situated.
Despite many advances in digital and satellite navigation, it is essential that teams know how to do things the traditional way.
Where the Uss Gerald R Ford to suffer an Emp attack or be cut off from satellite contact, it would need to find its way using maps, sextants and other centuries-old navigation tools.
Come right here, of course, 146.. though it’s tempting to think of aircraft carriers solely as weapons of war, they are actually more akin to floating cities with thousands of people living on board at any given time.
It is imperative that the ship’s culinary team be able to supply three regular meals, snacks and more to their Shipmates.
The Uss Gerald R Ford has a food service division that features a huge team of culinary specialists.
These people take a very customer focused approach to their job, aiming to produce delicious meals that also fit the Navy’s dietary and health requirements.
Foreign carrier commissary is equipped with the same sorts of cooking equipment as a state-of-the-art restaurant, but has many more customers than even the busiest restaurant on land.
On the Gerald R Ford, there are around 98 people tasked with putting out around 12 000 meals a day.
Holidays are major events for the cruise of aircraft carriers.
Over the years since its launch, the Gerald R Ford has earned quite the reputation for its Thanksgiving dinner.
The Culinary team aboard the ship spends roughly two days prepping for the event.
In 2018, this event included 50 turkeys, 40 hams and 25 cuts of prime rib.
That year, the event was open to Sailors and their families and the entire mess hall was decorated with an upscale Thanksgiving motif.
Other major holidays on board Us naval ships include the 4th of July and Christmas, each with its unique celebratory customs.
But aircraft carriers do not only come alive on special days.
Crew members often throw talent shows with musical acts, magic and more, as well as other events that give Crews a chance to mingle and feel more at home.
That said, Readiness is still a priority.
Depending on the ship and the conditions, work shifts may be split up into 12 hours or 4 Hour increments.
This generally leaves about half the day for eating, sleeping and Recreation.
In order to make sure their crew members stay in fighting shape, cruise on carriers around the world often set up special fitness programs, such as the 77-day warrior challenge.
The goal is to encourage the men and women on board to invest at least some of their free time in physical fitness.
Five, eight, nine.
In many cases, these fitness challenges evolve into a stiff competition between crew members looking to outdo one another.
This not only increases the general camaraderie among the crew, but helps keep everyone in shape for the mission.
There are many different jobs assigned to aircraft carrier crew members.
However, each person on board is still a sailor.
During General quarters drills, All Hands aboard the ship must assume Battle Stations.
These are the positions assigned to them whenever the vessel is in a combat scenario.
Throughout the course of a given day, a carrier will launch and retrieve multiple aircraft, engage in various training actions and work with a wide variety of equipment in vehicles.
The purpose of this is to keep the crew in a constant state of Readiness and maximize their familiarity with every aspect of their ship.
Crew members will train with weapons and perform various duties in multiple types of conditions.
They even participate in firefighting functions, which is generally considered a worst case scenario when a fire breaks out aboard a Navy vessel.
Perhaps one of the most important jobs aboard a Navy ship is maintenance.
After all, not only do these massive vessels have all the problems of a complex nuclear-powered boat, but they also have the same issues one might associate with living in a massive apartment complex.
For instance, the Uss Ronald Reagan, a nimitz-class carrier, has just six air conditioning units to serve the entire 5 000 person crew.
If one of these breaks, as it did in 2021, it would pose a huge problem for the comfort and health of the people on board.
Though each unit generally weighs more than four thousand pounds, a team of Maintenance Personnel was able to take the air conditioner apart, identify the problem and fabricate a replacement part while remaining out at sea.
So the problem we faced with the number one Ac uh chill water pump was a mechanical issue with the motor which turned off the Ac on the floor down the ship.
What we did was we fabricated and machined a shaft collar for the pump, which then restored Ac back on the port- another ship, I guess being in this part of the world Ac is really important.
It also put a big strain on the other Ac pumps, not having one Ac up.
So allowing 1ac to come back online relieved a little bit of stress on the Ac pumps.
Aircraft carriers and other large warships will often spend months at sea at a time.
In order to ensure they don’t run out of food, fuel or supplies, the Us military has developed a system known as underway replenishment.
This is when a special replenishment tanker pulls up alongside the carrier and establishes a connection by shooting a line between the two ships.
These lines are then used to set up various hoses and conveyors, moving fuel, water and Munitions on board and offloading anything that’s unsafe to dispose of on the ship.
Navies around the world have utilized this replenishment system for decades, allowing their ships to stay on Mission and preventing them from having to return to Port foreign.
The flight deck is perhaps the only place on an aircraft carrier where something is almost always going on.
A standard carrier will have between 50 and 75 planes and helicopters on board at any given time, though the helicopters can simply take off vertically, the planes must utilize a special catapult system known as the catabar Foreign.
Before launch, an aircraft’s front wheel will be attached to the cater bar, which then flings the aircraft forward at speeds of around 160 miles per hour.
This ensures the plane can become airborne despite having just a few hundred feet of Runway space.
Multiple teams work on the flight deck, each identified by their colored vests, thank you.
Those wearing purple are responsible for fueling planes, while those in yellow and green work with the catabar system and help direct the planes.
Finally, those in red are tasked with weapons prep and mounting.
All of this activity is observed and erected from the launch bubble, also known as the Catapult control station.
The bubble is located inside the ship’s deck, which gives the Personnel working inside an eye level view across the entire operation.
These men and women informed the green and yellow deck crew members where and when to direct the planes, while monitoring weather conditions for potential problems.
If conditions are optimal and the flight deck Crews have done their jobs, the plane will be cleared for takeoff.
On a given day, an aircraft carrier like the Gerald R Ford will launch and recover multiple aircraft.
Though it is not always necessary to have planes in the air, it is necessary to ensure the pilots, Flight Deck Crews and other crew members are well practiced and ready for whatever the ship might encounter while on its mission foreign.
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