I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend an overnight on the U.S.S. Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier off the Pacific Coast. Seeing how our country leads a giant naval ship is really inspirational – it’s a first class operation. There are three main takeaways that I want to share about, that gave me some valuable perspective.
1. The ship is like a floating city. It’s massive standing 20 stories tall above the waterline with 4.5 acres of flight deck and 5,000 Navy personnel. There are two nuclear reactors on board, a post office, multiple gyms, a chapel, etc. We were flown onto the ship by a C-2 Greyhound, and trapped by a hook that stops you to land. By the way, when you leave you’re catapulted off because there’s no real runway. Both are absolutely invigorating experiences. We spent a full two days taking in and learning about how the whole operation functions, spending our evening watching our military F-18s take off and land. On average they launch and catch 100-120 aircraft per day. Every single second, every single launch is a preparation for wartime.
2. I was really impressed by the Officers running the ship, who lead each department with the true clarity of someone at the top of their game. They’re like watching movie characters, perfectly dressed and rehearsed. Top Gun isn’t really that far off. They’re focus is laser sharp, every movement is purposeful – they’re whole life is incredibly purposeful. It is the pinnacle of leadership and professionalism in my opinion. They sacrifice everything to keep us safe, and then talk about how grateful they are to do this work, when we are the ones who really should be saying all the thank you’s.
3. The dynamic of each rank working side by side showcased something similar to what you see in the corporate world, except with their lives actually being at risk every day. We met with everyone from the newly enlisted on the ship to the commanding officer, and you can really see how the people who are passionate and driven take that ambition to the top. You can see an arc of progression in not only aptitude, but also attitude as the ranks rise. In spite of that, they all work together to make something incredibly high-level happen. I attribute that to the leadership being top notch (see number 2 above).
This really was an amazing experience and a cool example of the pursuit of a calling, and owning your craft. I am honored to have experienced first hand what goes into such an incredible feat.