Saturday, May 22, 2010
Trying to get in ship shape
For a father to gain access to his kid's floating home and work station, in this case a guided-missile destroyer, is quite a thrill. (Sorry, no photos.) It's like a parent getting to visit his or her kid's dorm room at college orientation. Well, sort of. There are only 11 "dorms" in the world with advanced electronic warfare systems and armaments like the DDG-77.
Even though the O'Kane is undergoing major servicing and updates for a deployment to ports unknown, it was possible to get the feel -- and thrill -- of what it's like to be on one of the Navy's modern fighting ships. It's 505 feet long, weighs nearly 7,000 tons and has a reach of 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots. The crew numbers about 300, including officers, when it sails, but we met only a handful of sailors during our visit.
Zach turned the O'Kane into an obstacle course, hustling top to bottom, fore to aft, and zipping up and down enough steep, tight steel grated stairways to make me come to terms with my failing athleticism. A highlight: a trip to the Pilot Room, where we watched the late afternoon light strike the Arizona Memorial in the harbor in front of us.
Nice digs, Zach. And safe sailing to you and your crewmates.