Protecting the homeland is a 24/7 job, and for many in the Navy, it begins in Norfolk, Virginia. It is the home port for the world’s largest Naval base.
KRIS 6 News reporter Jane Caffrey and photographer Mike Salazar spent three days in Norfolk, where they got a crash course on life in the Navy, including a 24-hour duty on board an aircraft carrier. Yet any old salt knows before you ship out, you need to get suited up and prepped, so their story begins in Norfolk.
Naval Station Norfolk is five square miles, with 14 piers and 11 aircraft hangars. It employs 300,000 people, that’s just under the entire population of Corpus Christi. Each year, the base controls 100,000 flight operations and 3,100 ship movements.
It is home base to destroyers, cruisers, submarines and amphibious assault ships, like USS Bataan (LHD 5). Her crew of 2,500 just returned from seven months at sea, providing maritime security in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation.
“It’s incredible to know that you can do something like this. You wake up and you really are just surrounded by water outside,” MC2 Mutis Capizzi said about her deployment on the ship.
Before Caffrey and Salazar board USS Harry S. Truman for 24 hours, they need to get ship shape. So they made a trip to the world’s largest Navy Exchange in Norfolk to get suited up.