First up is the senior non-commissioned officer on the USS Harry S Truman, Chief Master Chief Walker. The group I was in spent some time at breakfast and lunch with the Chief. We heard about him, however, for the entire 24 hours we were on the ship. He is a presence. In last week’s Truman Thursday feature, Executive Officer John Meier told me that his own style had developed from working with Chief Master Chief Walker. The only time on the trip that I saw any stress in one of the lieutenant commanders who was our escort was when it looked like the group might be a minute or two late for the breakfast the Chief had organized for us at 0630. The Chief, who is retiring in March, after a 30 plus year career in the Navy, is a key player in keeping the Truman ship shape.
Following the Chief is one of the pilots attached to the ship. His name is Lt. Long and he flies F-18 Hornets. He’s a member of the Gunslinger Squadron VFA-105. We talked in the squadron ready room on a stormy, flight deck rolling evening when the pilots were doing night operations. If you think it would be hard to land a jet on an aircraft carrier at day in good weather, you should see what it’s like in the pitch dark with rain blowing sideways. We watched those operations for about an hour that night and everyone in the planes and out did an amazing job.
Finally, you’ll hear from Rear Admiral Boensel who is the commander of the naval bases in the Mid-Atlantic. He stopped in to say hello to our group when we returned to the Norfolk Naval Air Station and was nice enough to give his take on what he looks for in a leader.
(By the way, in case you’re wondering, the clips interspersed between the interviews are of an EA-6B Prowler on the flight deck and a monitor in the Truman’s air traffic control center of an F-18 taking off.)