RIMPAC Blog Entry 3: More than just a regular 9 to 5

Article / July 29, 2016

By: Sub-lieutenant Jeremy Fraser, Canadian Exchange Officer on board USS San Diego

It usually takes three or four days before you see the beginning of fatigue in the eyes of everyone. However, you can eventually see the signs of tiredness as crew members take on additional duties and responsibilities.

On the American ship, as in the Royal Canadian Navy, a "watch" system is established in addition to the normal working day, so it is not uncommon for an officer to be on watch from 0300 to 0600 in the morning before starting a normal workday. What's impressive is to see good humour prevail despite the general fatigue.

Operating a warship is a team effort and the crew of the USS San Diego perform incredibly. Most crew members are passionate about their work and aren't hesitant to talk about it.

The population of the ship is a diverse mix. There are tan-coloured marine uniforms alongside the blue uniforms of the sailors. According to the books on military history I've read in the ship library, the Marines have always been an impressive fighting force. As they are specialized in amphibious operations, most of them do not have essential duties on board the ship. Some sailors and Marines themselves go so far as to insinuate — half serious, half joking — that the Marines may have a little too much free time on board. However, you cannot say they are undisciplined: the gyms in the ship are always full. They are also the raison d'être of the USS San Diego.

I recently had the opportunity to go for a ride in a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft, an impressive machine. I was told that the effect of the surf on the hovercraft tends to upset those who are prone to seasickness. The person sitting next to me was equipped with a big transparent plastic bag for that purpose. So I kindly offered to hold the bag for her in case her stomach decided to clear itself. Ultimately, no one got sick. I have yet to hit a sea strong enough to take away my taste for sailing.

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