Duty @ NAS North Island was a culture lesson for sure. The Base was near Mexico so that was my first taste of foreign countries , But sailing the western pacific ocean showed me that there was so much more. Deploying with our 1 H-2 helicopter as a part of the Aircraft-Carrier-Group. The Cabin was rather small , and just large enough for the 2 Pilots and 1 Air crewman . We had a very small hangar to store the aircraft indoors , we always tied it down , to secure it in the motion of the rough seas . And most days Mother Nature allowed the helicopter to fly , only in rather rough seas/storms we kept it in the hangar. Which was good for us , as the swaying ship made us a tad sea sick , so our time off was bitter sweet! And when the seas were especially rough , cooking was not allowed , which was good too , as the cold cuts were great for the few that could eat! The helicopter was used mainly to hunt submarines , and the Carrier had their own helicopters for that job , but since our ship was better able to sail in shallow water near shore , we often cruised with a few smaller ships , Allowing us to visit the smaller ports , where the islands could handle the smaller ships , but also host even less of a crowd/crew. Not only does the Carrier need to use the larger ports , But letting the many sailors off is even more of a challenge. The 5000 + sailers are more people than they have in the country!
more to come