Defense Update: The Greatest Sailors in the Greatest Navy

Readers have previously viewed in similar columns the glorious images of those awesome U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, cruisers and destroyers sailing the seven seas.

We read and hear about those magnificent fleet admirals, ship captains and carrier fighter pilots performing their important duties and missions.

But supporting those officers and launching and recovering those marvelous aircraft and their pilots are hundreds — thousands — of sailors performing their not-so-glamorous but nevertheless essential duties on the flight decks, below decks and deep within the bowels of those aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, etc.

As I read in a Navy publication, they represent the greatest sailors in the greatest Navy in the world.

These are images of those sailors. Hooyah, Navy!!

Seaman Andrew Rogeux sews chaffing gear on a mooring line aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Brian Wilbur)

Amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) await departure in the well deck aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) during a routine well deck training exercise. Green Bay is part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam)

Quartermaster Seaman Shelby Mahle plots navigational charts on the boat deck aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Sunderman)

Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) scrub the flight deck during a flight deck wash down. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Ricardo R. Guzman)

Gas Turbine System Technician 2nd Class William R. Hodge, from Chesapeake, Va., swirls a bottle with JP-5 fuel to check for impurities aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81). Churchill is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of Responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Chase)

Sailors heave in a span wire to transfer supplies during an underway replenishment aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99). Farragut is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class A.J. Jones

Aviation Structural Mechanic (Equipment) Airman Gema Escobar, from Midland, Texas, performs maintenance on an ejection seat from an EA-6B Prowler from the Wizards of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Hetherington)

Gunner’s Mate Seaman Phillip Stutesman prepares to shoot the shot line during a replenishment at sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Bartlett

Aviation Support Equipment Technician 2nd Class Cesar Gonzalez, from Houston, left, and Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Vanessa Lindsay-Kerr, from Raleigh, N.C., prepare to remove an engine from an aircraft tractor aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Hetherington)

Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) prepare to dismantle one of the ship’s catapults. Abraham Lincoln is in Norfolk preparing for an upcoming four-year refueling complex overhaul in Newport News, Va. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua E. Walters

Whether an admiral or a seaman, the greatest reward for a job well done during those long missions away from home and loved ones always is that long-awaited reunion….

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Richard Ching, from Honolulu, kisses his son after the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) returned to Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Pittman)

Children welcome home their father and the crew of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Norfolk (SSN 714) from a six-month deployment at Naval Station Norfolk. Norfolk completed more than 30,000 nautical miles during the deployment and conducted port visits to Haifa, Israel; Limassol, Cyprus; Bahrain and Diego Garcia. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kim Williams

All photos and captions: U.S. Navy

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist