The author of an upcoming Naval Institute Press book takes us around the world—from aircraft and carriers to submarines and surface ships—with the U.S. Navy.
"This ain't the real Navy," said the salvage diver in Singapore. He looked down at his short swim trunks and deck shoes: uniform of the day, most days.
"This ain't the real Navy," said the aircraft maintainer in the Persian Gulf, who made a point of calling his carrier's bow "the pointy end of the ship."
"This ain't the real Navy," said the boatswain's mate in the Baltic Sea, whose frigate seemed always, always, on the move.
Sailors have played this game, probably, since America's nascent fleet added a six-pack of shiny frigates to its motley colonial vessels. Every class of ship, every kind of duty, has its unique mission and quirks to set it apart from the rest of the fleet.
Carriers? "Bird farms," if you ask the surface warriors. Cruisers? Floating computers, what with Aegis and all. Subs? Designed to sink. Minesweepers, oilers, tenders? Hardly CNN-worthy.
Don't even ask about shore duty.