NORFOLK, Va. — One of the many ways in which the New York metro area is remarkable is that nearly all 20 million of us who choose to make the region our home are within an hour’s drive from the ocean.
However, few of us choose to make a living on the sea that surrounds us. There are even fewer still elect to venture out on the seas worldwide.
Among those last few, an even smaller group choose to dedicate their lives to being on the world’s oceans on a mission to protect the way of life and the freedoms we enjoy here in the tri-state and throughout our country, through service in the U.S. Navy.
PIX11 News was able to spend time with some New Yorkers in the Navy.
Most Americans are aware that men and women in uniform make sacrifices for our country. The sailors on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, showed in unprecedented ways how that sacrifice is carried out, particularly in the current geopolitical climate.
Sailors from our region spend most of the year thousands of miles away from their families here and in their home port of Norfolk, Virginia.
They regularly work 18-hour shifts in extreme conditions in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe, at significant physical risk to themselves.
They sleep in berths so tight they’re actually called “coffins”; they have to wear required layers of safety and operations gear in temperatures that frequently reach into the 120-degree range.
The list of day-to-day risks goes on and on. Especially after the death of American Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, their mission carries a constant fear of losing their lives.