By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman William Spears, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs
USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors from the Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC), stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., went underway April 27 to May 9, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) to experience ship life.
For many of these Sailors, the underway period was their first experience aboard a ship.
"We are trying to give these Sailors a taste of what Navy life is like beyond the shore," said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Steven Sorkin, leading petty officer for the NIOC Sailors. "We've had nothing but positive feedback. They are loving it. It's not every day that a Sailor volunteers to go mess cranking, and then asks to go back."
"The NIOC Sailors have been receiving a crash course in ship life," said Sorkin.
They have been mess cranking. They toured the brig and visited the bridge. They asked permission to relieve the helm, and, under instruction, steered the ship.
"Going up to the bridge was probably my second favorite thing," said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 2nd Class Londyn Barrett. "I got to see how everything worked together, and now I can kind of tell what the ship is doing."
Barrett said her favorite thing was being on Vulture's Row watching flight operations.
"I told everyone that if they can't find me, I'm probably up there," said Barrett. "I think that everyone should do this. It's been amazing. I told them not to look for me when we pull into port because I'm going to be hiding in a cabinet. Being here is so amazing."
The opportunity to come aboard as a guest is a pilot program for fleet familiarization. Sailors who spend most of their time at shore commands come to the fleet to see what life is like beyond the beach.
"Most of these Sailors do their job at a desk back home on a beach," said Sorkin. "They don't really get to see what their work does for the fleet. We want to do more of these fleet familiarization trips so junior Sailors get exposure to the fleet and can more appreciate what fleet Sailors do, how their work contributes and how every shop contributes to the mission."
"It's an amazing experience to be on the ship and see the real camaraderie of the Navy, which isn't really seen at a shore command," said Barrett.
"In our community, we don't necessarily see our leadership every day. I think it's impressive that the XO comes on [the 1MC] every morning and his positive attitude affects everyone. The positivity trickles down. I would stay at sea for every tour of my career if I could," said Barrett. "It's been amazing."
"The opportunity to visit the fleet has motivated these Sailors to do their jobs even better when they get home," said Sorkin. They are able to see how their job affects the Sailors in the fleet and get an idea what sea-life is like.