Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A city on water

Last time I posted about getting to be on an aircraft carrier, I was asked about the size of it. I had a bunch of close ups that didn’t really give the full picture of the enormity that is an aircraft carrier and was sad to realize I missed out on photographing the ship as I was walking up to it or even when I was getting off of it; never thinking once about it.

Thankfully, when I was in Hawaii in February of 2012, I got to watch a carrier come into port. To me, it was pretty neat. I enjoy witnessing these sorts of things, and that day I was smart enough to bring my camera. To put into perspective for some who might not know, this is a ship that houses over 5,000 people. It’s basically a city on water.
As I mentioned last time, it was very easy to get lost through all the hallways and corridors. They all looked the same. If I didn’t have G-man leading the way every time, I don’t know how I would have survived.
em95                                               (what I would have given to have that guy not pop into my shot)

It was so humid on the deck, we would walk through the hallways just to cool down in the frigid temperatures. My camera would fog up every time we walked outside, it didn’t like the climate change. While inside, they had a live band in the hangar bay. What I didn’t understand at the time, and still don’t to be quite frank, is a Japanese heavy metal band was hired for the event.
A Japanese heavy metal band…for a family friendly event. They screamed, they snarled, they screeched out their words at the loudest decibel possible in this hangar. “singing” about anything they thought was music we liked. Swearing, mumbling over the words (because they forgot them), or jumping up and down slamming their heads; they thought it was our kind of music. And it was sad. No one clapped. No one cheered. Everyone endured it hoping against hope the song they were playing was their last song.

What ended up being their last song was the worst of all. They decided to mix things up and slow it down by singing Love Me Tender by Elvis. A song the singer didn’t know. He held his crumpled piece of paper in front of him as he tried to sing the song. They started the song over three times as the lead struggled to remember the words, and eventually his guitarist came forward to sing the words to help the lead along.

Friends, it was bad.

We were excited when they were done as our ears recovered and five young guys took over with drums. All teenagers, one as young as 13 and nothing short of phenomenal. People filled in around us to watch their amazing performance and received loud applause throughout.

It was coming time for the airshow, and it became a battle of decisions. Ride the elevator up to the flight deck. The elevator that takes all the planes up. The elevator that would be the coolest thing ever to ride. Or leave early to get our spots for the airshow. It was a tough decision, but we chose to leave early to grab a good spot.

{I still wish I had ridden it}

But it was the smart choice to nab the perfect spot because as time wore on, our little view from above the vulture’s nest, was getting more and more cramped. As the minutes ticked down, I began reverting back to my basketball days with boxing out people who were wanting to crowd me and block my ability to take pictures. I may be skinny and take little room, but my arms are long and block a good foot on either side.

After they walked the deck three times and cleared all the equipment, the show began.

It was good, real good. Seeing a jet trap on the flight deck or do touch and goes was a pretty amazing thing to witness. Once I get my act together and compile the videos of it all, I’ll share it. I’ve seen it on tv, but to witness it, and to know I was standing next to someone who used to do that (G-man), made it all the more special for me to see.

I got a glimpse into his life. His work. His world and it was truly an honor to be there among all the men and women who serve our country. He kind of blows it off like it’s no big deal, but it really is. Not everyone cares to serve, so those who volunteer their lives for us, no matter how big or small, deserve my gratitude.

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1 comment: said...

I love the pics. Those people so close to the edge of the tarmac scare me though lol. I am sure the boat is going slow, but still.

How come so many japanese people are in hawaii, is that where he is stationed? Having a screamo band too seems weird to me.

What are jet traps? that kinda looks freaky to me too.


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