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Traveling for Work: Military Service

During Fleet Week 2015, I was able to interact with service men and women aboard the USS Wasp (LHD1), a multi-purpose assault ship that accommodates the full range of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters, conventional and new landing craft, and amphibious vehicles.

The USS WASP (LHD 1) is designed to accomodate new landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) for fast troop movement over the beach and Harrier ii (AV-88) vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) jets that provide close air support for the assault force.

The USS WASP (LHD 1) is designed to accommodate new landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) for fast troop movement over the beach and Harrier II (AV-88) vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) jets that provide close air support for the assault force.

It was an informative experience where, by nature of a guided tour, I got a tiny hint of the equipment and technology used in battle and the magnitude of the sacrifice brave military personnel make for us to maintain our freedoms.

Entrance area of the ship

Entrance area of the ship

The horrors of war are numerous and the devastating effect it can have on lives, both at home and abroad, is unquestionable. Yet, thousands of people enlist each year. In spite of the risks, both veterans and those in active service say military training also teaches valuable life skills. Things like teamwork, attention to detail, self-discipline, how to function in stressful situations and leadership are some of the benefits of enrolling. Of course, persons in active service also get to travel the world!

During my tour of the ship, I spoke briefly with a navy officer and a marine about their trips abroad. We were in groups so I had to slip my questions in between the regular presentations and while my fellow tour participants were looking at the exhibits and learning about the rigors of active duty.

Navy officer Jayme Graham

Navy officer Jayme Graham

E6 1st Class Officer Jayme Graham is a ship serviceman who has been in the navy for 12 years. She is in charge of maintenance and materials management onboard which means she liaises with vendors and suppliers that repair the ship. As part of the navy, she’s traveled around the world to transport marines to their call of duty and has spent time in many far-flung destinations, including Australia and Malaysia. She liked Australia best.

Young Marine Corporal Spader

Young Marine Corporal Spader

Corporal Spader was newer to the service. He’s been a marine for just over three years and with his USS Wasp assignment, he had to quickly learn to live amongst the 900 other people onboard. State rooms for the officers are above board while everybody else lives below deck. His tours of duty have taken him to Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines so far. With a shy smile, he told me he enjoyed Thailand best. I didn’t have enough time to find out if that was because of the tasty food, the friendly locals, the Instagram-worthy imagery or the women but at his tender age, I suspect it could be all of the above.

What do you think; would you enter military service?

Below are some images from my visit.

Random hotties. Excuse me, I mean badass marines who know exactly how fine they are.

Random hotties. Excuse me, I mean badass marines who know exactly how fine they are.

Bottom right is a robot that is sent ahead in battle to do reconnaissance, It has three cameras, goes up to 8 ½ inches in reach and zooms 800m from the laptop it is attached to. It weighs 50-60 pounds and travels up to six miles per hour. It comes equipped with about two hours of battery life.

Bottom right is a robot that is sent ahead in battle to do reconnaissance, It has three cameras, goes up to 8 ½ inches in reach and zooms 800m from the laptop it is attached to. It weighs 50-60 pounds and travels up to six miles per hour. It comes equipped with about two hours of battery life.

Light armored vehicle (LAV) - Light assault (LAV 25A2

Light armored vehicle (LAV) – Light assault (LAV 25A2) delivers accurate and destructive direct fire against lightly armored vehicles and material targets.

 

 

 

 

I asked these guys to give me their intimidating look and bless their cute little hearts, they obliged. They are standing in front of a mine resistance ambush protected vehicle (MRAP 4 x 4). It is designed for combat engineer teams in areas where mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are known threats. The MRAP can ford hard bottom water, crossing up to 39 inches deep, allowing the vehicle to operate under most environmental conditions.

M41A4 Saber

Now these guys right here? HOT!! In the forefront is a M41A4 Saber heavy anti-tank precision fire weapon system designed to engage and defeat armored vehicles and other hard targets such as field fortifications (bunkers, buildings etc.) Maximum effective range is 3000 meters.

Chopper

Chopper that can take off from and land on the ship.

 

I'm ready for take-off. Where are we headed next?

I’m ready for take-off. Where are we headed next?

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