An aircraft carrier is like a small city at sea, except this city is armed to the teeth.
Onboard, thousands of sailors work, sleep, and play for months at a time while deployed around the world. But what’s life really like?
We rounded up 37 photos from our own collection and the Navy’s official Flickr page to give you an idea.
A day at sea begins with reveille — military-speak for “wake up” — announced over the ship’s loudspeaker, known as the 1MC.
Some sailors start their morning in one of the many cardio gyms onboard.
While others hit the free weights.
On any one of the mess decks, culinary specialists start preparing to feed the thousands of sailors that will show up for breakfast.
And sailors file through the line and fuel up for the day ahead.
On the flight deck, sailors need to be extra careful.
The flight deck is the world’s most dangerous place to work.
A step in the wrong direction could turn propellers into meat grinders.
Jets launch around the clock.
And darkness doesn’t slow them down.
Sailors on the flight deck work in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. As a former sailor myself, I can say we sometimes forget what day it is.
Nights at sea are a stargazer’s dream.
We fix planes in the hangar.
We squeeze them into tight spots.
Teamwork is essential.
Together we can move planes.
No matter what, a buddy will always have your back.
Work can be exhausting. Every sailor sleeps in a small space called a rack.
But sailors quickly learn to sleep anywhere.
Sometimes we get to dress like pirates to honor the long-standing tradition of “Crossing the Line.”
At the “Crossing the Line” ceremony Pollywogs endure physical hardships before being inducted into the mysteries of the deep.
Only then can King Neptune and his royal court transform a slimy Pollywog into an honorable Shellback.
This tradition is older than anyone can remember.
Sometimes when we have downtime we go for a dip in the ocean.
We play basketball in the hangar.
We sing on the flight deck.
Or relax in the berthing – Navy speak for living quarters.
The best part about being a sailor is traveling.
We visit foreign ports.
We play as hard as we work.
Sometimes we visit places civilians will never see.
We never forget our sacrifices.
We honor traditions.
And when we sail off into the sunset, we know tomorrow is a new adventure.