BREMERTON, Wash. – Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) opened its brows to 100 Bremerton, Washington, community members while in port at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, March 8, as part of the Kitsap Sun’s “Story Walk” program.
Story Walk, hosted by reporter Josh Farley, commenced in 2015 as a way for Farley to connect readers to their local stories. The idea is simple; take them there.
“Rather than just reading the story in the paper or online, I wanted to take people to the story and let them hear from the source that I get to interview,” said Farley. “This allows them to see and feel the stories they are reading.”
The tour started with a greeting by Nimitz’s Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin P. Lenox, and then community members were given a “dirty jobs” tour, in order to give the best insight into what Sailors aboard do on a daily basis.
The group was not only able to see common tour show spaces such as the flight deck, but also some of the ship’s engineering spaces such as a JP-5 pump room and damage control central.
The civilians were able to interact with Sailors and experience what it’s like to live and work on a naval vessel, while giving them a chance to grasp what Sailors are doing both here and around the world.
“We live across the street from the carrier and see it from afar every day,” said Zach Dougherty, from Bremerton. “It’s surreal and exciting to finally see the ship up close.”
Farley has conducted between 25-30 of these tours and admitted this first-of-its-kind tour was second to none when it came to community excitement.
“This is something that I knew a lot of people would be interested in,” said Farley. “I truly view this as something historic. I never thought this was possible, until I asked the question.”
The tour was also an opportunity for local community members to build a relationship with the Navy they host within their community.
“Bremerton has always been a big Navy town and probably always [will] be,” said Farley. “To me, giving insight on what our men and women go through in the Navy is the most important piece of what we are doing here today.”
Nimitz will soon join Carrier Strike Group 11, to include Carrier Air Wing 11 and Destroyer Squadron 9, for Composite Training Unit Exercise in preparation for an upcoming 2017 deployment.
Story by MC2(SW/AW/IW) Holly Herline