Friday, May 2


Have any of you been watching Carrier? It's the reason I haven't posted in a while. Carrier is an excellent documentary series on PBS (of course) about life on the USS Nimitz. Each episode is one hour and focuses on a different aspect of life on the aircraft carrier. I thought it was an absolutely fascinating glimpse into life on the Nimitz and the unique circumstances of being out at sea for months at a time.

Most of those interviewed seem to agree that an aircraft carrier is really a floating high school in terms of the social structure. The pilots are the jocks, and get all the perks, while the enlisted work their booties off, endure lots of drama and form their own close knit cliques to survive.

Although many of the jobs on board are mundane others are back breaking. Ultimately, it's hard to forget that aircraft carriers are just plain cool. Jets are cool. Pilots are cool! The whole concept of an aircraft carrier is ludicrous but Carrier helps shine a light on how it all works. I'm not sure who first came up with the idea of an aircraft carrier but they must have been nuts. They highlight one night when jet after jet simply can't nail a landing. The jets are all running out of fuel and it gets very stressful but it helps you understand how dang hard it must be to land on a moving target. I guess it never occurred to me how much a carrier can bob up and down in the middle of the ocean. What a nightmare!

Of course everyone on board is busy doing a job but the topic of politics is hard to avoid. Naturally, those in the Navy are not really allowed to discuss political ideologies but most say politics don't matter anyway. They're just doing a job. In today's pre-convention fervor it's refreshing to hear somebody say "I just don't care about politics. I just do what I'm told." Nobody even seems to care who the President is and they're right, I completely understand. When you're told to get on a floating city, sail across the planet, do a job to launch jets over foreign lands to help soldiers on the ground... it just doesn't matter who tells you to do it. If you signed up for it, you just have to go. Hearing those most affected by our politics say "I don't care." is actually breath of fresh air.

Of course, we're talking about the armed forces so, yes, it sometimes gets a little macho but, I must say, most of the time it's incredibly personal. You see some people make huge mistakes, you get to see others succeed, you hear how much they all miss their families and how much their friendships mean to them. Some of those featured are in WAY over their heads while you come to realize the Navy probably saved the young lives of many others. You come to understand the sacrifice of each individual and how incredibly young most of them are. Ultimately, they all make it clear that all they really care about are their families and friends. It's a good reminder of what really matters while the rest of the world continues to squabble endlessly.

The last episode of Carrier aired Thursday night but it seems to be re-airing on several PBS stations. Otherwise, you can watch it online here. Come on, give it a try. You'll love it!

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