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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Haze gray and underway: life on a modern destroyer


The more things change, the more they remain the same. Almost any surface sailor for the last 60 years can identify with this article about a day in the life of people serving in USS John S. Mcain.
It's nighttime as the destroyer churns up a phosphorescent wake in the Pacific. The dimmed lights of electronic equipment cast a soft green glow over the bridge, while red lamps add an eerie, darkroom look.
Resuming his starboard watch, Ensign Curtis Peschel ducks out to the lookout posts where it's pitch black, save for the Milky Way, which stretches from one horizon to the other, and a crescent moon hanging low in the sky.
For the next four hours, Peschel, the USS John S. McCain's communications officer, will be driving the $1 billion ship. He has been in the Navy less than two years. This is the first ship he's ever been assigned to.

"We get a lot more hands-on experience out here," said Peschel, a 25-year-old from Mercer Island, Wash.
And some people enjoy accounting.

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