The United States has been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq for almost ten years now. For most of the country this may be of only passing concern, but for the soldiers and Marines and their families whose livelihoods are tied to the war, every year has come with an increased cost. They count the deployments and feel the conflict’s demands, while the rest of the population has different, more immediate concerns. So too has the Navy’s surface fleet.
A sailor’s day on a Navy ship is difficult, involving seemingly endless watches, multiple places to be at the same time, and constant maintenance. But in the background of a flurry of activity looms the question no one asks: What for?