Jason Blessing, CEO of Plex, excitedly told me about an upcoming trip. He had been invited to spend time as a Distinguished Visitor on an US Navy aircraft carrier out in the Pacific. My immediate request (after telling him how jealous I was) “observe the (unclassified) technology and innovations and send me a guest post”.
He readily agreed – the US Navy asks in exchange for the visit is that DV’s pay $50 to cover the cost of chow while aboard and that they share their experiences with their communities. I am glad Jason is doing so with the New Florence community.
The Stennis, in active service for two decades, is a Nimitz class super-carrier with navy and marine F/A-18 Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, MH-60R, MH-60S, and E-2C Hawkeye planes.
Here are some of Jason’s observations
“Some systems and vehicles used in the military are not new, by design. For example, the plane that flew us out to the USS Stennis is over 50 years old and continues to persist because the platform is functional and easy to maintain. In addition, many systems on the carrier have 2 – 3 back-ups, with the older systems serving as the backup. Think about using your landline at home and how you use it when the cell phone is either dead or you can’t get a signal. The same idea applies to navigation and weapons systems aboard an aircraft carrier.
The US government can be innovative. You don’t usually think of our government as innovative, but many of the ideas that get implemented are a result of ideas from our soldiers on the front line. One such example I saw are the flight helmets used by F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots. To activate a weapons system then simply look at target thru the heads-up display in their helmet and then punch a few of buttons to select which targets to engage and what type of ordinance to use.
-When I asked an enlisted sailor what’s the worst thing about being gone, besides missing family, he said Spotify. After 30 days of not connecting to the Internet a Spotify music library deactivates.
-Limited DirecTV is available aboard, including news and sports. The ships also show current run movies and the USS Stennis showed the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight on Saturday night.
-The food is actually pretty good and ships serve 4 meals a day. Cereal, milk and fresh fruit are available 24 hours a day.
-The espirit de corps is remarkable on this ship. Most young sailors are incredibly excited about the important jobs they have the role they play in national security.
-Most sailors work 16 – 18 hours a day when deployed at sea. The sacrifice they make to preserve our freedom is remarkable.
-The most junior sailors actually drive the boat. I love the irony in this. This is a job that requires a huge amount of concentration and physical effort. They also have a lot of people looking over their shoulder.
-The boat is in ship shape. Revelry happens at 6:30 every morning and then the entire ship’s population cleans from 7:30 – 8:30 AM every day.’
Photo Credit – top Wikipedia, middle Jason