Sailor for the Day: Exclusive access aboard the USS Harry S. Truman

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Honor, courage, and commitment. To see it is to believe it.

It’s nothing short of eye-opening witnessing how these men and women of the U.S. Navy perform day and night aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. These

As I step off the C-2 Greyhound Cod, I walk into what is considered the world’s most unforgiving work environment and it wouldn’t take long to find out why.

The first thing you recognize on the ship, named after the 33rd president and Missouri native, is how loud it is on the flight deck.

There's no talking here. Duties are represented by the color you are wearing. For instance, yellow means plane directors, purple signifies a member of the fuel crew, and brown represents the pilots.

“They’ve been working hard, they’ve been training hard, and the biggest thing is their claim to win,” Command Master Chief Antonio Perryman said.

That intense training is crucial, as flights are non-stop. Minute after minute, launch after launch, pilots are taking off or landing.

“We train and drill and exercise and execute all the combat capabilities, warfare areas, and missions that we would employ while we’re out at sea,” Capt. Nicholas Dienna said.

When it’s time to land – it isn’t easy.

Pilots must grab hold to one of the three landing cables while traveling more than 100 miles per hour, talk about precision. Once pilots land – the fighter jets are then lowered to the hangar bay, where the planes are placed in the care of sailors whose job is to keep them in pristine condition.

My ‘sailor for the day’ journey took me to the hanger bay, where 70 different aircraft are housed for the USS Harry S. Truman. Taking a look around you see dozens of sailors that’s because they work on 24-hour intervals.

Repairing aircraft, searching for harmful small debris in what's called a FOD walk (“foreign object damage”), exercising or completing regular physicals, there's no downtime and little room for error.

Though the ship is as long as the Empire State Building, there's one crucial thing it lacks: space. Getting from one place to another is a challenge.

Changing decks only allows one person to climb the ladder at a time and you'll find yourself twisting and turning as you walk through passageways. No matter where you go, everyone is moving with a purpose.

You can bet all that hard work builds up a hearty appetite; that's when it’s time for the chow. The meals are not gourmet, but they're filling for a 6-day work week.

And there's no quiet hours on board. Sailors fly and work throughout the night with little or no visibility.

Looking around, you would assume these are seasoned sailors, but you’d be wrong.

“Almost 40 percent of our crew is under the age of 21,” Dienna said. “Watching them step up and contribute is phenomenal and it’s a privilege to work with them.”

No matter if it’s on the flight deck to the hanger bay, sailors aboard the USS Harry S. Truman show the true Navy spirit aboard the world's finest warship.

“In high school, they teach you to dream big, but here we teach you to grow goals,” Perryman said.



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