The day starts with stopping by combat systems tool issue to check out a harness, as well as climbing gear and maintenance equipment. After strapping on an extra 10 – 20 pounds of equipment, it’s off to the radio room for a brief.
Chits must be routed and signed off, safety observers posted, and a call over the 1MC must be made to notify the crew. Finally, the climb can begin: up from the 03 level, out the door of the 010, up the catwalk to the 011 level and then through a small door in the mast of ship. From there, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Only a handful of Sailors on board Nimitz are fully aloft qualified. One of those Sailors is Fire Controlman 3rd Class Trevor Izard, of Thousand Oaks, Calif.
“The first time I made the climb, I was nervous,” Izard said.
Now, going aloft to one of the highest points on the ship is a routine and enjoyable part of Izard’s work experience.
“I don’t really get scared up there,” said Izard. “You’re tied on, so you can’t fall.”
Izard reported on board just over a year ago, with orders to serve as a radar technician. One of Izard’s main duties is to maintain Nimitz’ SPQ-9B radar, the ship’s primary fire control radar.
According to Izard, the SPQ-9B can detect any missile, jet or small surface craft approaching the ship.
“The main thing that keeps me focused is that I love my job,” Izard said. “I don’t shoot, but I protect the ship. I appreciate knowing that I have the opportunity to do the best I can to save lives in the unlikely event we’re ever attacked.”
The weather has been a little more conducive to going aloft since the beginning of deployment, but, Izard said, the work still needs to be done when Nimitz is in homeport.
“At home it’s cold, damp and slippery, and because it’s so cold, the metal expands and it can be hard to move the equipment,” Izards said, “but I still love it.”
Maintenance requirements means going aloft at least once a month. While working, Izard said he benefits from having a ‘bird’s eye view.’ Izard said he’s been able to see some pretty unique things from the top of the ship.
“The coolest things I’ve seen so far have been foreign ships, and a lot of helicopters,” said Izard. “Going aloft is euphoric. It’s easy to focus on my work, and gives me a great perspective that not everyone on the boat gets to have,” Izard said.
Story and photos by MC3 (SW/AW) Siobhana McEwen