That is, give or take a few hours, the number of days I was assigned to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). For my less salty readers, Truman just happens to be the finest military ship in the world, and has won the prestigious Battle E award so many times, they are out of places to paint it on the ship.
She is also 1092 feet long. Coincidence? Hardly. Destiny? Probably.
Her hull number is 75. Just guess what year I was born. Truman himself became president in April. Take a guess what month I was born.
What happens when you subtract 75 from 1092? You get 1017. Guess how many days are left in the year on October 17th (10-17). Thats right… 75.
Creepy yet? Hang on. Truman was the 33rd President of these United States. On October 17th, 1933 (10-17-33) astronaut William Anders was born. He, along with Captain Jim Lovell and another astronaut were the first three Americans to orbit the moon. Guess who I am having breakfast with in the photo below in the month of OCTOBER??? (Actually October 12th, 2010, aboard Truman).
The assignment had to be fate. The ride, it was epic. At times. For short periods of time. With lots of time in between the epic… And I loved every minute of it.
In early spring of 2013, I went underway on her for my final 11 epic days. I earned my Aviation Warfare Specialist qualification during those 11 days (the normal process is several months). I also cried the first and only tears I would ever cry over the thought of leaving that ship and never stepping foot aboard anything that floated again.
The tears were short lived. They may have even been the result of the onions being prepared on the mess decks that day.
I swore off watercraft and water-related sports for good. I even ruled out visiting places near coastlines. I considered never getting in another bathtub.
Three months later, I was working the system at my shore duty trying to get a chance to get back on board a ship for just one day.
Well, it has taken me a solid year, but if things work out, my next seven days will include more than 700 miles of driving, more than 5000 miles of flying (five different flights), 24-36 hours on an aircraft carrier, and the bonus of landing on and flying off of the ship while it is at sea.
All sorts of things can go wrong, the most likely of which is cancellation of the visit due to the ship getting busy and not having time to participate in the mission I am going there for. I saw it dozens of times on Truman. Visitors planned, visitors cancelled.
I will not be writing on the blog for the whole week. Probably.
But when I get back from this epic journey, I will have tales of airports in three states, military plane rides landing on boats, jet fuel in my skin, salt water on my boots, sea stories galore, adventure, excitement, fun, great beer on a coastline I have never visited, in a place I swore I would never go.
When I get back, I am going to have an EPIC story to tell. Probably.
Photos by the author (except photo of myself with Captain Lovell), shot with Nikon D-7000, D-700 and D-800 with Nikon 24-70 fixed 2.8 aperture lens.