Anchors Aweigh

My younger brother, Wil­son, set sail on Mon­day for his first deploy­ment as an offi­cer in the United States Navy.  Above is an image of his ship — the U.S.S. Makin Island (LH‑8) — leav­ing San Diego. (Image cap­tured from this impres­sive video of the ship leav­ing the port).  The Makin Island is the first hybrid-power ship in the Amer­i­can Navy, and it also has a sys­tem to pro­duce over 200,000 gal­lons per day of fresh water from an onboard desali­na­tion sys­tem.  This is the ship’s maiden deploy­ment, hav­ing been cer­ti­fied after a series of qual­i­fy­ing exer­cises over the past year.

Although his assigned “day job” is as a pub­lic affairs offi­cer, he is one of the few offi­cers on board qual­i­fied to serve as “Offi­cer of the Deck” — that is, he has been cer­ti­fied by the cap­tain and other exec­u­tive offi­cers to com­mand the ship from the bridge when the exec­u­tive offi­cers are else­where.  He does this for six hours or so each day.  So, he is much more of a badass than me.

At the end of his deploy­ment in the spring, Wil­son will return to the United States to begin his train­ing as a Nuclear Power Offi­cer.  He’ll spend a year learn­ing and prac­tic­ing how to man­age the oper­a­tion of a nuclear reac­tor before report­ing to an air­craft car­rier to help man­age its nuclear-pow­ered propul­sion some­time in 2013.

My fam­ily and I will miss Wil­son over the next sev­eral months, espe­cially over the hol­i­days, but we could­n’t be prouder of him as he serves our country.

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