Posts Tagged ‘aircraft carrier’

This is the final video of my three part series showcasing the fun we had aboard the USS Nimitz. In this video, we explore the flight deck from back to front, visit the ship’s nurse to find out about medical capabilities, and visit a Magazine Room to learn about weapons. Truly an experience I’ll never forget.


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Apologize for the delay in posting part 2 of my overnight embark on the USS Nimitz (@USS_Nimitz). Work has been pretty busy lately launching new tourism campaigns on the west coast.

But I’m a man of my word and glad to share with you this next installment of our overnight fun at sea. In this video, we check into “Hotel Nimitz”, explore the hangar, spend time in flight operations, witness insane nighttime landings on the carrier, and take a special “after hours” tour with MC1 David Mercil to visit the anchor room and other cool places.

I hope you enjoy this sneek peek of Navy life at sea. I’ll have the 3rd and final video up soon.


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I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have to say once more that my experience aboard the USS Nimitz was incredible. As promised, I’m sharing the first of three videos that showcases some of the more interesting and exciting parts of our overnight embark.

In this video, we depart Hickam Airforce Base on a C-2A Greyhound (aka COD or Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft) and head to the USS Nimitz. Once we landed, we were briefed and headed to the Bridge to watch the F18 Hornets land on the ship and watch flight deck operations from up above. We then headed to the flight deck to watch these amazing aircraft takeoff and land.

It’s an experience I’ll never forget. After we “boltered” (or missed all arresting cables on landing) on our first try, I finally experienced an arrested landing on the carrier. The only way I can describe it is like someone pushing on your entire body as hard as they can for 3 seconds. What a feeling! Spending time on the Bridge was surreal. Talking to the men and women in control of the ship, watching planes land, and observing deck operations was a lot of fun.

But being on the flight deck, standing 20 yards from a fighter jet, and watching it take off right before my eyes has to take the cake. The powerful smell of jet fuel, the deafening roar of the engines, and the heat coming off the deck was overwhelming.  Then, to witness the accuracy in which the pilots land these $80 million jets on a moving target was awesome.

I hope you enjoy this video. There’s two more to come, so stay tuned. I’ll continue my tour of the USS Nimitz into the library and hangar, check into “Hotel Nimitz,” and much more.


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One of the many highlights during my overnight embark on the USS Nimitz this past Sunday was the opportunity to meet Rear Admiral John W. Miller, commander of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group 11. I must confess I had no idea what an admiral’s responsibilities were before talking with him, but I soon learned he has one of the most important jobs at sea…commanding the fleet of ships that make up the strike group.

Admiral Miller is a very engaging man and spent an hour talking with our group about the Navy’s maritime strategies, the future of aircraft carrier, and of course, social media! In the video above, he shares some thoughts about the Navy’s use of social media and the challenges the military in general faces as it moves into the blogosphere without compromising national security. My shipmate Burt Lum asked the admiral about his personal use of social media tools and got quite a humorous response. While the admiral may not Twitter, I bet he’s got more than three friends on Facebook which he claims.

Here I am in full gear on the COD as we head to the USS Nimitz. Priceless!

Here I am in my flight gear on the COD as we head to the USS Nimitz. Priceless!

As the Marines ban the use of social media on its network, the Navy is opening up its doors and sharing its story with everyone who’s interested in listening. As a distinguished guest invited aboard the USS Nimitz (who is also on Twitter) to blog about my experiences, it’s clear the Navy is engaging in and executing one of the most unique social media campaigns today. It’s not everyday you get to land on, spend the night on, and takeoff from an aircraft carrier. And they want to you to tell the whole world about it.

But Admiral Miller raises a good question. “How much is too much?” when it comes to sharing information. He admits the challenge becomes educating your people to use communications responsibly, whether it’s email or social media tools. That’s not just a challenge in the military, but within public and private organizations as well. What I’m most impressed with is the Navy’s efforts to open up the conversation and share a side of its organization many will never see.

I will say one thing and that it is the goal of the U.S. Navy’s distinguished visitor program is to educate civilians like me about what they do for our country and share it with others. If you haven’t noticed yet, they have clearly succeeded with me!

Lot’s more to come about my time on the USS Nimitz. Stay tuned.


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The USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is the lead ship of America’s largest class of aircraft carriers with a crew of nearly 3,000 men and women and when deployed the air wing brings an additional 2,000 personnel. Photo Credit: Joe Brunner, RMCM, USN, Ret., via Joseph M. Radigan, MACM, USN, Ret.

The USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is the lead ship of America’s largest class of aircraft carriers with a crew of nearly 3,000 men and women and when deployed the air wing brings an additional 2,000 personnel. Photo Credit: Joe Brunner, RMCM, USN, Ret., via Joseph M. Radigan, MACM, USN, Ret.

Later today, I’ll be boarding a C-2A Greyhound with about a dozen others (including Digital Ronin Burt Lum) and flying to the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz as a “Distinguished Visitor” of the U.S. Navy’s overnight embark program. Crazy! Words can’t begin to describe how excited and honored I am to have this opportunity to meet the men and women serving our country and protecting our freedom. I’m also looking forward to meeting Navy Public Affairs Officer Jason Salata who manages the USS Nimitz Twitter account (@USS_Nimitz), which I’ve enjoyed following the past couple weeks.

“So what the heck is this all about?” is probably what you’re saying to yourself right now as you’re reading this. I asked myself the same question when I received the invitation e-mail on July 27 from Bill Doughty, chief of internal information for the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. I also asked myself this honest question: “how in the world did I get selected for this endeavor?”

The Navy has immersed itself in emerging media and has been actively reaching out to bloggers and social media users to participate in these embarks. I suspect this blog and my dabbling in social media has much to do with receiving this special invitation. In fact, a high-profile group of 14 bloggers, including Guy Kawasaki, spent 24 hours at sea aboard the USS Nimitz this past June. More recently, well-known Hawaii bloggers Ryan Ozawa and L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine did a similar embark aboard the USS Ronald Regan. I also have inside knowledge that Ryan and Neenz recommended me (and Burt) to the Navy for the embark. Needless to say, I’m extremely thankful to the both of them, thrilled to be going, and looking forward to sharing my experience here when I get back.


A few important items coming with me. Twitter shirt...check! Laptop...check! FlipMino...check! Canon camera...check! Mini tripod...check! Hawaiian Host macadamia nut chocolates...check, check! iPhone...check...even though it's not in the photo. How else could I have taken this photo? 😉

But enough typing for now. I’ve still got some packing to do and more importantly, need to ensure all electronic devices traveling with me are fully charged. The carrier won’t have Internet service, so I’ll be out of touch until Monday afternoon. Check back for photos, videos, and more then.



This opportunity is also very special for me as my father, Gary Kam, was in the Navy in the early 70s as an aviation electronics technician with the Strike Fighter Squadron VF-213 (the Black Lions) and spent time on the USS Kitty Hawk. It’s a part of my his life I don’t know much about, so I’m also using this trip to learn more about his days in the service. I’m starting with a short Q&A that I did with my pops yesterday to get myself up to speed before arriving on the aircraft carrier.

Nathan: What years were you in the Navy and what did you do?
Gary: I served from 1971-1975 as an Aviation Electronics Technician with the Strike Fighter Squadron VF-213 (Black Lions). We had F-4 Phantom jets which were the top planes at that time. The Vietnam War was still going on. By 1974 the war was winding down.

N: What was it like living on an air craft carrier?
G: Sailors adapt well.  We fixed the navigation and electronics countermeasure equipment, as needed, after each flight.  There are a lot of stuff to do on the carrier. You can exercise, go to the library, go to the flight deck when no planes were launching or landing.

N: What was the most memorable moment(s) of your Navy career?
G: Serving with fellow Navy men.  Seeing the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Kenya, and England.  You develop a strong friendship during your tour.

N: Did you serve during any major wars? Were you ever in battle?
G: The Vietnam War was going. We launched a bunch of sorties against North Vietnam. I was never in direct combat except for keeping the aviation electronics equipment up an running. The Navy pilots are a bunch of fearless and dedicated men. Give them a wing and a prayer and they will complete the mission.

N: What did you do for fun on the ship?
G: Anything to keep you busy.  Read, talk to shipmates, exercise, look at the ocean and all the fish and sea snakes, etc. you can see.

N: Any words of advice for me before I take off?
G: Enjoy the moment.  Not many, even Navy guys, are given the chance to land and take-off from an aircraft carrier.  I never did. ENJOY AND HAVE FUN YOU LUCKY GUY!!!!! Love you…..Dad!


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