USS Nimitz documentary “Carrier” offers insightful glimpse into motivations of Navy crew

If you are one of my regular readers, you know I’m more than a little anti-television. I would rather do just about anything than sit on my ass and watch the crap on TV they call entertainment, so any program that can catch my attention for 10 hours must be something special.

PBS – yes I watch GeekTV- ran a 10 hour documentary this week called ‘Carrier’ – life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.  We’ve taped it all, and have made it through to hour 5, and WOW! I love it.

For most Canadians, or even Americans for that matter, who are not familiar with any sort of military life, it is a behind the scenes look at all that happens when the carrier heads out for a 6 month deployment to the Persian Gulf, back in 2005. I’ve always wondered what motivates men and women to sign up and head out, and this film shows the many- and varied- reasons behind the crews choice to join the navy.

So far, what stands out for me, is the tender age of so many of the crew-some of the guys look no older than my son, and I’m pretty sure some haven’t even had to shave yet. 18, 19 , 20  are common denominators, and as you listen to some of the crew tell their stories and their family backgrounds, you will begin to understand why they signed up. Many of these kids came from nothing – poor families rife with drugs, crime and a future of more if they didn’t get out. No love, no discipline, nothing to strive for. These are the kids that wanted more than what they saw around them, and the Navy was the only way out.

More on that in a moment, but the other thing that really stands out for me, is that so many of these kids don’t really seem to know, or understand what they are fighting for- they pass it off as supporting their country, rather than really getting into whether they support the war or not. Their views on the war in Iraq are not often talked about among crew mates, because its a heated and sensitive area.

As a woman, I’m proud to see so many girls making their way in what seems like such a mans domain, and doing well in a tough arena. And it makes me proud, even as a Canadian, for all those kids who saw and wanted more out of life than poverty, crime and prison. They are proud of what they do, and most do it well, with discipline and honour.

Oddly enough, this is a great show for parents to watch, because they might just learn something about raising kids right. Kids need – no crave – discipline, order, love and respect. They need the chance to develop and show their abilities, and they need to know that they are loved and that they belong. For so many of the crew, the navy provides all of that. Their crew mates, their sections, are their family, and they get the camaraderie and respect they need from each other.

I don’t often plug anything on my site, but you have to see this film. I cant wait to watch the rest, and see the conclusion of the journey that is filmed so well, and with such stark realism.

My congratulations and thanks to the both the film crew, and the crew of the USS Nimitz during that journey, for sharing a look into your lives, and your careers.

If you’ve missed the series, check it out at :

http://www.pbs.org/weta/carrier/

2 Comments on “USS Nimitz documentary “Carrier” offers insightful glimpse into motivations of Navy crew

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