Go Navy! Team leadership in action!

Here’s a video of an amazing rescue undertaken by a highly trained US Navy helicopter team lead by Lt. Brandon Sheets.  Watch to the very end to get the leadership lesson.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Here’s the full story via King5.com: Whidbey crew talks about amazing Skokomish River bridge rescue

Shiver Me Timbers! Bloggers Board USS Nimitz

USS Nimitz Some bigtime bloggers were running around the USS Nimitz over the weekend like a bunch of Somali teenage pirates on a fully laden supertanker.

The leader of the pack was Guy Kawasaki who wrote another comprehensive post (24 Hours at Sea on the USS Nimitz) about life at sea in the Navy on his always entertaining How to Change the World blog. You may recall Sea-Fever’s earlier post (Guy’s Excellent Naval Adventure) about his time served (as a blogger, not sailor) aboard the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the US Navy, named for Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi. Like that earlier post, this one is chock full of photos, video and really good info.

Kawasaki is also the founder of the popular Alltop website and master marketer that never misses an opportunity to promote his business interests.

YouTube – F18 Landing Over Jennifer Leo’s Shoulder

There’s some decent photography about this adventure too.

Robert Scoble's big gun

More shameless self-promotion or is the government now selling sponsorships as part of the deficit reduction plan?

Sponsor-a-Bomb Program

Here are the other pirates bloggers, some of whom posted and some not yet, but you should still check out their blogs in case they do after I post this. They all write good stuff!

Pirate Bloggers

Great PR and blogger outreach by the US Navy! Looks like fun too!

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The Impeccable Sea Story

My podcasting partner and friend, Captain John Konrad has done an “Impeccable” job covering the recent confrontation between several Chinese vessels and a US Navy ship. Check out his FAQ post and this video if you want to learn more. (USNS Impeccable – Harassed by Chinese Navy + FAQ)

YouTube – USNS Impeccable VS China- FAQ

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FotoFriday: How to pay a pirate – part II

Remember we showed you how to pay a pirate to get back your $250,000,000 oil filled tanker? Well, it seems it take twice as many parachutes to get your cargo shipped filled with military equipment released. Here’s a picture taken by the US Navy via MarineBuzz via @oldsailor on Twitter.

CLICK FOR HI-REZ - 090204-N-3931M-427 INDIAN OCEAN (Feb. 4, 2009) Ransom money is dropped in the vicinity of the MV Faina off the coast of Somalia near Hobyo while under observation by a U.S. Navy ship. Pirates did not actually leave the ship until Feb. 5, more than 24 hours after this photo was taken. The Belize-flagged cargo ship is operated by Kaalbye Shipping Ukraine and is carrying a cargo of Ukranian T-72 tanks and related equipment. The ship was attacked Sept. 25, 2008 by pirates and forced to proceed to anchorage off the Somali Coast. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael R. McCormick/Released)

Photo on official US Navy website plus more photos.

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Guy’s Excellent Naval Adventure

Some of you might be familiar with Guy Kawasaki. He’s a hockey player, author, former Apple employee and prolific Twitterer. I’m not sure but he might even be part of the famous Kawasaki motorcycle dynasty.

One thing I do know is that he’s a pretty famous blogger and he recently wrote the “longest post in the history of blogging” about 26 hours aboard the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the US Navy, named for Senator John C. Stennis of Mississippi.


Guy had the great fortune to see America’s finest up close and personal and he took lots of pictures and posted them to his blog. There’s also some video there too like this scan from the ADMIRAL’s seat and a few landings.

YouTube – Admiral’s View

YouTube – Landings


It’s a great post! Check out and subscribe to Guy’s blog, you won’t be disappointed.

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PBS’ CARRIER – Parts 9 and 10

Carrier home_grid_main_01

It’s always tough to say good bye to old friends and that was the theme for CARRIER tonight. Lots of good byes to the shipmates, friends, relationships, careers and even USS Nimitz herself.

I’ve spent 10 hours over the past 5 consecutive evenings so captivated by the show that I was afraid to step away for a moment out of concern of missing something. That’s really crazy since I Tivo’d the entire series.

While I’m not a veteran or military man or naval history enthusiast, I do enjoy a good story and PBS delivered more than 5,000 of them over the 10 hours of CARRIER. We got an intimate view of the lives of a handful of sailors and a broader view of many more. It’s certainly easier now to appreciate what life is like aboard a United States aircraft carrier; frankly it’s not all that different than life anywhere else. Or is it?

I have spent the last decade of my professional life observing life at sea and promoting the opportunities to experience it. In my younger days I had the great fortune to live it first hand and have written about it on number of occasions. (Here, here, here and The Tabor Boy Project). I passionately believe in what the sea can do to change lives and after watching CARRIER I am even more convinced that it ain’t necessarily the size of the boat. Put any number of people in a confined space in an alien environment and chances are they will figure out the need to work together and support each other. Of course, shooting high performance aircraft off a moving and abbreviated strip adds a whole other level of complexity. But in the end, life at sea is a unique and powerful personal development experience.

Thanks to the amazing, charming, intelligent, funny, dedicated and hardworking crew of the USS Nimitz for giving us this incredible opportunity to peek into their lives and get a better understanding of the challenges of life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Also an even BIGGER THANKS to them for serving our country. Thanks to the filmakers who IMHO created something absolutely riveting. Thanks to PBS and all of the sponsors including the organization that I work for, Northeast Maritime Institute, for making this show possible.

I would typically never sit and watch so much television over the course of 5 days, but like many of the sailors leaving Nimitz after her deployment, I’m a bit melancholy wondering what I’m going to do tomorrow night.

Episode 9: “Get Home-itis”

A six-month absence places a heavy burden on relationships. The Navy holds seminars to counsel sailors on what to expect when they return home — and how to make the transition smooth. The “Tiger Cruise” ritual allows sailors to invite their family members aboard for the last leg of the deployment.

Episode 10: “Full Circle”

As the Nimitz makes its final transit from Hawaii to California, the sailors and Marines on board prepare to return to their homes and families. For those still on board, the “Tiger Cruise” provides a buffer, but there’s no such transition for those who fly home early from Hawaii. As the Nimitz returns to her home port of San Diego, sailors and Marines reflect on the deployment and take stock of what they’ve achieved. Was the mission accomplished? There are tearful, joyful reunions at the pier.

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PBS’ CARRIER – Parts 7 and 8

Carrier home_grid_main_04

You would be hardpressed to find more dramatic or suspenseful television than the Part 7 scene of landing planes on a pitching deck at night. It’s ironic that the most dangerous part of the mission is not fighting “terrorists” in Iraq but rather surviving mother nature on the way home. This is must see TV!

Up through part 7, a considerable amount of time is devoted to telling the story of the USS Nimitz as a well honed war machine with a diverse crew that successfully coexists under some challenging conditions and circumstances. Shared experiences like the pollywog/shellback ceremony creates camaraderie and common bonds among the crew. Then faith makes it way into the story in part 8 and a bright light shines on the rich diversity that is represented in the crew. This ship is an amazing floating community.

CARRIER does a great job of developing the story with each new episode having a solid foundation from what went ahead while still allowing room for surprises. IMHO this is the best reality TV by far!

Part 7 – Rites of Passage description

The last day in the Gulf is the last chance to drop bombs before the Nimitz heads home. The jets take off, laden with ordnance, and return hours later, still carrying the same bombs. As the Nimitz crosses the equator, the entire ship takes part in the Crossing the Line Ceremony, an ancient maritime ritual. In the middle of flight operations, a storm arises in the South Indian Ocean. The deck pitches violently, turning the already dangerous task of landing on the carrier into a nail-biting, heart-pounding drama.

Part 8 – True Believers description

This episode explores the many expressions of faith onboard the USS Nimitz: faith in self, faith in one’s shipmates, faith in the mission of the ship and the president’s call to arms. The major religious groups on board are Catholic and Protestant, but there also is a coven of Wiccans, as well as a Pentecostal group whose newest member is challenged by the duality of his beliefs and the temptations of liberty as the ship drops anchor in Perth, Australia.

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PBS’ CARRIER – Parts 5 and 6

Carrier home_grid_main_02

Tonight the tone was definitely much more serious. The gravity of the mission and the toll it takes on the men and women aboard comes through clearly. I have been really taken by the honesty and authenticity that CARRIER seems to present in telling the USS Nimitz’s many stories.

Questions about the connection between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Iraq are addressed directly to the camera. “Why am I here?” One sailor states he’s “a faithful and loyal servant with questions.” A pilot explains the conflict of having an opinion and doing his job. Many recognize that this is a different type of war than that for which the Navy was built. 4th generation and asymmetrical warfare causes one pilot to state “It seems like aircraft carriers are not the way to fight wars today.”

The sight of a decrepit oil platform makes all the effort and resources deployed seem more than a little overkill and the search for terrorists has that needle in the haystack feel. “It’s not as much fun when we don’t drop bombs but maybe just flying over deters the bad guys on the ground. Fighting the terrorists is neverending.”

Life on the Nimitz can be a blur where the days of the week have no importance. Everyday is like the next. A pilot states, “I wouldn’t mind dropping bombs may sound demonic but that’s what I was trained to do.” But no bombs are dropped through episode 6 and you can begin to see and hear the stresses this causes to warriors in a war zone. Adrenaline to sheer boredom makes it all so challenging. Some feel it’s just “my job” while many others seriously question mission validity. There seems to be more sailors longing for home.

There is a sobering man overboard story that reminds us that life at sea can be dangerous even in times of peace.

As usual, the cinematography and music were amazing.

Part 5 – Show of Force description

The mission really kicks off when the Nimitz arrives in the Gulf. The conditions are extreme: flight deck personnel endure temperatures hovering around 120 degrees, while the pilots undertake grueling six-hour missions over Iraq. The F-18s are mounted with infrared cameras, enabling them to serve as the “eyes in the sky” to support the troops on the ground. Some of the pilots are frustrated that they’re not dropping bombs because, as they describe it, that’s what they’ve been trained to do. The aircraft carrier’s role and effectiveness in this particular war are questioned. Meanwhile, the strike group searches for terrorists on small dhows and intercepts cargo ships to search for weapons and bomb-making materials.

Part 6 Ground Hog Day description

After two months in the Gulf, one day starts to become indistinguishable from the next. The airwing still hasn’t dropped a single bomb, which is frustrating for some on board. The only relief comes from a port call in Bahrain, where some sailors relax by the pool, while others visit a mosque and learn about Muslim culture. The Princeton, one of the escort ships in the Nimitz strike group, loses a man overboard; an intense search to find the lost sailor ensues.

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