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.