There is no better example of our nation’s military strength than the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Each of these war machines are over 1,000 feet long and weigh over 100,000 tons. Within their hulls almost 6,000 Sailors and Marines live and work. They are the epitome of American military might.
Over the last month and a half, I have been delivering a sailboat from Maryland to Florida and, in my travels, had the opportunity to cruise through Norfolk, Virginia. Norfolk is the largest naval base in the world and I enjoyed motoring past cruisers, destroyers and many other ships used by the Navy. But, the highlight of the day’s trip were the two ships acting like bookends to the miles of docks – which include both military and commercial shipping – two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
At the first pier after leaving Hampton Roads, the USS Dwight Eisenhower (CVN-69) was refitting after completing a long deployment in the Middle East. Her decks were busy with sailors and contractors going about their work. The next couple of piers were occupied by amphibious assault ships, huge in their own right, but dwarfed by the super carrier that sat next to them.
We stayed at a marina across from a shipyard where an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and a Ticonderoga-class cruiser were undergoing overhauls. It had been years since I was able to get a close look at the ships which carried on the jobs that I had been involved with so many years ago. It was a nostalgic moment for me; my service has given me a fondness for the Tico’s that will never go away.
Motoring down the Elizabeth River the following morning, headed for the Dismal Swamp Canal, we passed another Navy base with the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) at dock. As early as it was, the ship seemed deserted and at rest, unlike the bustle on the Eisenhower.
The slow pace of motoring a sailboat – approximately six miles per hour – allowed me the time to reflect on the differences between the two ships and the dozens of warships that lay between them. Norfolk is a Navy town and the majority of the riverfront property, on both sides of the river, is given over to shipyards, bases and other facilities. The Ike (Eisenhower) was the second-oldest Nimitz-class carrier; the Avenger (Bush) was the newest and last of the class to be constructed. In between, newer and older ships were busy getting ready to support our foreign policy around the globe.
Although the ships may change, the technology advances and the policies evolve, the ships of the US Navy are at the forefront of American foreign policy and a graphic reminder of how strong this nation is.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.