A Sailor's Life: An introduction to the US Navy

NORFOLK, Va. (WLUC) - When you think about the United States Navy, scenes from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier probably come to mind.

TV6's Andrew LaCombe got to stand on a flight deck earlier this month, watching planes take off and land, as the Navy invited reporters from across the country to experience a sailor's life.

Before getting on the aircraft carrier, the Navy started by teaching the reporters about one of the first things sailors learn in boot camp - the uniforms.

This is part one of TV6's Andrew LaCombe's series, A Sailor's Life.

Click here to watch part two: Aviation Survival Training in the U.S. Navy
Click here to watch part three: Landing on the USS Truman
Click here to watch part four: Life on the USS Truman
Click here to watch part five: The future of the U.S. Navy

With a belt around my waist, my sleeves buttoned and a name patch on, I was set to get a real experience of a sailor's life. I had my dark blue coverall uniform pulled up.

"We use this aboard the ship and while underway," said Stacy Atkins Ricks, a U.S. Navy Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class from Detroit. "So if we're out to sea, we're out working, we're using this uniform."

We loaded up a sea bag full of other uniform essentials that I'd need on a ship.

"Our boot camp instructors make sure that we know how to wear the uniform well," said Atkins Ricks. "It's one of the first things we learn in the Navy."

Norfolk, Virginia is where my experience began.

"Norfolk Naval Base is actually the largest Navy base in the world," said Lieutenant Junior Grade Marc Rockwellpate, a U.S. Navy Public Affairs Action Officer

We got to see the pier with a carrier in port and some smaller ships. The Navy bought the property immediately after the U.S. entered World War I.

"So this is really the starting point for all carrier operations on the East Coast," explained Rockwellpate.

The Navy has a total of 11 aircraft carriers. Five are stationed at the Norfolk Naval Base.

"The Navy has a maritime mission," said Rockwellpate. "We support the shipping lanes that are vital to commerce to communications to everything that goes on around the world."

World travel is a highlight for Aircraft Technician 2nd Class Richard Lindsey from the Battle Creek area.

"I've been to Bahrain I think like 11 times," said Lindsey. "I've been to Masirah. I've been to Dubai. Those are countries, I think growing up in Michigan, nobody in the world would ever thought you would go there."

To get to those places takes months on a ship with about 5,000 people.

"When you're on the ship, I would say life is actually really simple because there's a routine," said Lindsey. "Twelve on, twelve off. You wake up, you get breakfast, you go to work, you go to lunch, you go to dinner. And all you do is flight schedule, maintain aircraft. That's just the gist of it."

A routine that sounds simple, and starts with wearing your name and the Navy uniform proudly.

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