- NWSA330. Discovery Channel to air a look at life on a carrier
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- BETHESDA, Md., (NWSA) -- The Discovery Channel will profile life aboard a U.S. Navy
aircraft carrier with the world premiere of "Carrier: Fortress At Sea."
This new documentary uses on-site footage aboard USS Carl Vinson to illustrate the
danger and challenges inherent in life on these ships.
The documentary airs Sunday, March 5, from 9 to 11 p.m. (ET/PT) and midnight to 2 a.m.
- **webmaster note: In 1995!!**.
- The special program repeats on Saturday, March 11, from 1 to 3 p.m. (ET/PT), Saturday,
March 18, from 8 to 10 p.m. (ET/PT), as well as from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday,
March 19 from noon to 2 p.m. (ET/PT).
- The program incorporates in-depth interviews with Navy personnel ranging from the
captain of the Carl Vinson who
oversees the operations of the billion-dollar vessel, to the cooks who provide meals for
nearly 6,000 crew members, to the aviators who discuss what it feels like to fly,
land and sometimes eject from their aircraft.
- The story of Carl Vinson's voyage begins with a scene familiar to Navy veterans the
world over. As the ship departs
from San Francisco, Calif., for a six-month journey -- which includes a return trip to the
scene of its deployment during the Persian Gulf War -- the Sailors must say a
tearful goodbye to their families. The excitement of boarding the awesome vessel is
tempered by the fact that they know duty must take them from their loved ones.
- As LT Brad Leppla, an A-6 pilot who's a 14-year veteran of the Navy says,
"It's extremely painful leaving your kids, knowing that you will not see your
wife or your children for six months and then come back and almost expect everything to be
normal. It will not be normal."
- As the Carl Vinson departs, CAPT John Payne is in command of the ship. During this
voyage, Payne will be responsible for overseeing the smooth running of the ship and
the livelihood of nearly 6,000 crew members. His first duties as the cruise gets
under way include greeting the new arrivals on the Carl Vinson and, most importantly,
overseeing the arrival of the 78 aircraft assigned to the ship. Since carrier
fighter jets do not leave port on board the ship, the first operation for the pilots
on this journey is to bring the planes aboard the moving aircraft carrier.
Once the aircraft and pilots arrive safely, the Carl Vinson's crew is complete and its
trip truly begins. Yet in order for the carrier to operate smoothly, thousands of
people need to perform a myriad of important jobs. A ship that is
nearly 1,100 feet in length (making it as tall as the Empire State Building if it were
ever stood on its end), 24 stories tall
from top to bottom, weighing 95,000 tons, that is also designed to serve as a warship,
landing field and floating city, is
extraordinarily complex. It takes remarkable skill and endurance to make sure it runs
- The Carl Vinson's crew of 5,800, often working more than 12 hours a day, is integral to
the ship's success.
- When the cruise is complete, Carl Vinson heads home having travelled halfway around the
earth. During the six-month
deployment, the 264 aviators completed more than 7,000 flights. More than 90 of the
Sailors became fathers, the "nuggets" acquired knowledge and confidence
and everyone gained experience from the time on the ship.