A Sailor's Life: Life on the USS Truman

NORFOLK, Va. (WLUC) - When out at sea on an aircraft carrier, life is pretty routine.

"Once you start to find that routine, you enjoy it," said U.S. Navy sailor Tyler Monfette. "Eat, sleep, workout."

From top to bottom on the USS Harry S. Truman, 5,500 crew members are assigned to different jobs. TV6's Andrew LaCombe spoke to three Michigan sailors during his time on the Truman earlier this month.

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

Click here to watch part one: An introduction to the U.S. Navy
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 five: The future of the U.S. Navy

"We take pictures of foreign vessels of interest," said Bryan Williamson, an intelligence specialist 2nd class.

Above the flight deck, Williamson of St. Louis, Michigan is on watch.

"I provide indicational warnings for warfare commanders of the strike group of any threats," he explained.

Down below, Tyler Monfette and Lorenzo Bonner work as personnel specialists, processing paperwork for sailors.

"It hits home for a lot of people, because if you're talking about someone's pay or their entitlements for their wife and their kids, that affects the sailor on a day-to-day basis," said Bonner, a personnel specialist 3rd class.

After breakfast, every day follows a routine.

"Getting ready, morning hygiene, come into work and then we did quarters, Sailors Creed, go through the plan of the day," said Monfette.

Sailors get some downtime each day on the ship. They are required to work out three times a week, so you'll find exercise equipment pretty much anywhere there's extra room on board.

"My typical work day is a twelve-hour watch," said Williamson. "I typically get twelve hours off and I usually sleep around eight hours and I work out on a daily basis."

The seaside gym is a relaxing place for Bonner, who is from the Detroit area.

"It's mostly the water is what I'm looking at," he said. "I kind of put myself into a calm place, given that we are gone. I like to channel my energy to de-stress, detox."

The father of three joined the Navy three years ago.

"I got to a point where I wanted to make a drastic change, and I saw a commercial and I said, 'What's more drastic than joining the service?' so here I am," he recalled.

Monfette, who is from Lower Michigan's thumb region, says he enlisted to get away from home.

"I'd been there my whole life, so I wanted to see a little bit more of the world," he said. "And I've absolutely done that, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. Last deployment we stopped in Greece, France, England and Portugal."

On the ship, there are limited chances to connect back with people back home.

"We're just cut off a little bit more," said Monfette. "We miss a lot, you know, we think a lot about home. The best part of our time here is when we get to go home on leave and see everybody.

Williamson says the separation is getting easier.

"Now my parents understand, my friends understand," he said. "I go home, they come see me. It's just been pretty easy to adjust."

No matter what job they have on board, these sailors are making sacrifices to protect the seas around the world.

In part five of this series Friday morning, TV6's Andrew LaCombe explores the future of the U.S. Navy.

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