Shortly after 6 a.m. on a rather cold Wednesday morning last month, forty-five American Legion Post 3 members left Greenville for a bus trip to Norfolk, VA.
The trip resulted from an eventful week that took place October 5-10, 2009. Greenville was chosen by the U.S. Navy Outreach as one of twenty-three cities in the United States for a group of U.S. Navy officers and sailors to visit and explain to citizens what the U.S. Navy is doing with regard to the “War On Terror,” as well as humanitarian projects around the world.
The U.S. Navy deployed several ships including the hospital ship “Hope” to assist in humanitarian relief after Haiti was devastated by an earthquake.
The officer in charge of the Greenville visit was Rear Admiral John W. (Bill) Goodwin. Rear Admiral Goodwin and his staff visited the Shriners Children’s Hospital, as well as two Greenville County High Schools. The U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Band 4-Star Edition performed for a “Fall for Greenville” audience Friday night.
Post 3 hosted Rear Admiral Goodwin and his staff at the War Museum. Several Post 3 members assisted Rear Admiral Goodwin and his staff while in Greenville.
Lt. Commander David L. Nunnally, a member of Rear Admiral Goodwin’s staff, asked Post 3 Commander John Collins if any members of Post 3 would ever like to visit the Norfolk Naval Base, he would help make the necessary arrangements. Now, you know the reason for the trip to Norfolk.
We arrived at the Hampton Inn Motel around 4:30 p.m., Wednesday afternoon.
Norfolk American Legion Post 327 invited us to a spaghetti supper at their post. Several American Legion Dept. of VA officers were also in attendance to welcome us to Norfolk.
On Thursday the U.S. Navy invited us to tour the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), the Ninth Nuclear-Powered Nimitz-class super aircraft carrier in the US Navy.
The aircraft carrier is powered by two Westinghouse Nuclear Reactors that drive four steam turbines and propellers, moving the 100,000 ton ship at speeds exceeding 30 knots. It is 1,096 feet long and 257 feet wide at its widest point. With the Air Wing on board the USS Truman has a crew of more than 5,000 sailors and more than 70 combat and support aircraft. The ship is homeported in Norfolk, VA.
Construction of the ship began at the Newport News, VA Shipbuilding Co. on April 25, 1989, and the Keel was laid Nov. 29, 1993. The ship was christened on Sept. 7, 1996, and was launched on Sept. 13, 1996. The USS Harry S. Truman was commissioned on July 25, 1998.
The area of the flight deck is 4.5 acres. The two anchors, which weigh 30 tons each, came from the USS Forrestal (CV59) and the anchor chain length is 2,083 ft. with 684 links each weighing 365 lbs.
The carrier is equipped with four freight elevators which are used to get the aircraft up to the flight deck. The “galley” or kitchen serves more than 18,000 meals daily.
The USS Harry S. Truman desalination process is capable of producing 400,00 gallons of fresh drinking water from seawater a day.
We were divided into four groups with two U.S. Navy Tour Guides assigned to each group.
We were allowed on the massive flight deck which was under- going maintenance, such as repaving, repainting, etc.
There were no aircraft on board because the planes have been flown to area airbases while the ship is still out at sea.
We visited the Captain Navigation “Bridge” where the captian oversees the operation of the ship.
The male and female personnel on board are assigned separate “berthing” areas.
After our ship’s visit we had a buffet lunch at the Breezy Point Officers Club.
Some interesting news items about the USS Harry S. Truman were released by the public affairs office on board the ship.
Crew members aboard the USS Truman were awarded a second consecutive “Battle Efficiency” award on Feb. 10th.
Vice Admiral Thomas Kilcline, Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) announced the East Coast Award winner. The award more commonly known as “Battle E” recognizes sustained superior performance in an operational environment.
Captain Joe Clarkson, Truman’s Commanding Officer, stated, “This prestigious award reflects the commitment, dedication and sustained pursuit of excellence of every sailor on board. I cannot think of a better way to recognize their battle-readiness as we prepare for our upcoming deployment.
This marks the fifth year the USS Harry S. Truman has won this award. The ship won it in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009.
Our post members on this trip were veterans of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. There were five wives and one father/son member on the trip.