Life On Board a Nuclear Carrier

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

It's hard to forget your first trip to an aircraft carrier. They are so big — other ships docked anywhere near a carrier seem to shrink in size. They often bristle with military power. The flight decks always feel enormous. And so many people. An aircraft carrier is like a small floating town. I come from Windsor, Nova Scotia, population 3500 people — a carrier has almost twice as many people.

One of my earliest memories from childhood was visiting the HMCS Bonaventure, at the time the only aircraft carrier in the Canadian armed forces. The Bonnie was a British carrier, bought by the Canadian government. My dad was friends with its captain and we got a tour. I still remember the exhilarating sensation of standing on one of the "elevators" in the ship's hanger as it shot up towards the flight deck.

But compared to the USS Nimitz, the Bonnie was a pipsqueak. Life on the Nimitz is the subject of a new PBS documentary, Carrier. We'll be talking to two of the young sailors featured in the 10-hour series on Thursday's show. You can get a sneak peek about life on the Nimitz here.

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4.5 acres of Sovereign U.S. territory
(Anywhere you want it!)

Almost makes the USS Missouri (BB63) look like a bathtub toy.

Sent by Harold | 2:37 PM | 5-15-2008

My Dad served 22 years in the Navy and this show told his story as a sailor. He died as a Retired Vet when I was 10 and could never tell me his story. Thanks for showing me an important part of his life.

Sent by Tim | 3:16 PM | 5-15-2008

This was an outstanding series! The film makers captured an amazing amount of the life and times on a ship. While I was in the Air Force for 15 years, and was an enlisted flyer who dealt with Navy and Marine crews and aircrews, I found a lot of commonality with what I saw during AF deployments.

Also the crew should also be thanked for sharing so much of their thoughts and lives during this period
While I don't agree with the "war", but I fully support the folks in the military. Its their job to follow the chain of command.

Sent by Kendall | 3:23 PM | 5-15-2008

I think the focus today should be on the Congressional hearings of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. This is the most important event in our current history. Many of these soldiers testified in March at the Winter Soldier hearings, which also received very little media attention. Every soldier is a pawn in the corporate game. Watch "Iraq for Sale" not "Carrier". We should all be focused on Congress deciding today whether to continue to waste our tax money to support the corporate take over of Iraq.

Sent by Todd | 3:32 PM | 5-15-2008

This is a fantastic Program. I would love to see similar indepth programs done on other types of vessels as well. The navy as a whole is not like a carrier they are a unique condition. I was a sailor aboard the USS Indianapolis, SSN-697, a fast attack submarine stationed out of Pearl Harbor. Our condition aboard the Indianapolis was very differant from that of the Carriers. Our backgrounds differant and the relationship between officers and enlisted was also very differant. I think it would be very interesting to contrast the life aboard differant types of vessels.

Thank you and great work.

Rob Gauper

Sent by Robert V. Gauper | 3:43 PM | 5-15-2008

Chris Altice--a young sailor(E-3/aviation ordnanceman)aboard the Nimitz was the star of the series.
What a great American and nice young man!
We need to hear and see more of him in the future.

Sent by T.Williams | 5:20 PM | 5-15-2008

Chris Altice broke my heart. I wanted to make that boy macaroni and cheese and tell him how great he is. I watched the series twice over the space of a week, loving every minute, even when (I kept crying) it hurt to watch. When I think of the sacrifices made by our troops, and the disgracefully insufficient funding of the Veterans Administration by our government, I feel moved to act. I will start by writing my representatives in regard to the V.A., and urge others to do the same.

Sent by Amber Lane | 10:06 PM | 5-18-2008

I wanted to see the film crews performance referenced in the interview. But could not find it online. Any links?

Sent by Sonya | 11:31 AM | 5-23-2008

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