Yokosuka is a United States Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan. It is an hour and a half train ride from Tokyo and is located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay. During my second visit to the base, I was lucky to be able to tour the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which was docked there until its deployment in June 2016.
It was my first time to see an aircraft carrier up close – thanks to my good friend Erik. He was also instrumental in touring me around Boston and Connecticut during his first assignment in Groton as a US Naval Officer. That was in 2007 and it was also my first year of teaching abroad.
The USS Reagan (CVN-76), a nuclear-powered supercarrier, is the flagship of the Carrier Strike Group 5 of the US Seventh Fleet home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan. It can carry 90 fixed wing and helicopters, 3200 crew, and 2480 air wing personnel. (Source: Wikipedia)
I’m dwarfed by a fighter jet and the bridge, which is one of the most important parts of an aircraft carrier. This is where the Captain sits along with the navigator and all other officers.
This is how the inside of the carrier’s command center looks like. I got to sit on the Commanding Officer’s seat and hold that tiny wheel that moves this enormous ship.
Soldiers need to rest and eat and this is how their sleeping quarters and mess hall look like. They still manage to have privacy in those cramped berths, while the mess deck offers a vast array of nutritious meals and snacks. There is even a vending machine inside.
I’m standing on the flight deck of the USS Reagan. This is where aircraft take off via steam catapults and land.
The picture at the right is a hangar elevator, while the one at the left is a CIWS or close-in weapon system.