Monday, October 26, 2009

Touring the USS Nitze During Fleet Week 2009

The guided missile destroyer, USS Nitze paid a visit to the Nauticus in downtown Norfolk, Virginia in mid-October. The occasion was to help celebrate the US Navy's 234th birthday by welcoming the public through tours of the active duty ship. This was the first visit in four years by a Navy ship to the facility for a public tour. Click here to see Norfolk's WAVY-television report of the ship's tour.

The crew assigned to the 42N group greeted each member and asked if there were any active or retired military in our group. An ex-navy guy and his family from the Norfolk area identified himself. The Nitze crew thanked him for his service and began the tour.

Our guide (the woman pictured above) explained the name of the ship and their ongoing mission. We toured the helicopter landing area and hanger, the ship's fire fighting team, the galley (which was filled with cooks and hungry sailors), and many tight passages. Part of the 'wow' factor was a walkthru of the ship's combat information center - a subdued lighting, computer screen filled room located directly below the bridge. It looks like what you see in the movies. Any sensitive data was scrubbed from the computer screens for these public visits.

Our tour continued upstairs to the bridge and then onto the forward deck to checkout the 5-inch gun and multiple hatches for the guided missile arsenal. An interesting feature of modern warships is the phased array radar systems. Two large flat radar panels are visible in the bottom photo behind the 5-inch gun control.

Our guide explained that she doesn't recommend standing anywhere near the 5-inch gun when it fires nor when the missiles start their climb out of the hatches. She said its pretty noisy. 42N thinks its probably worse to be on the receiving end of either of those two weapon systems.

The Commander of the USS Nitze, CDR Richard Brawley, wished us well at the end of the tour. He is proud of his ship and his people. So is 42N. Know that.

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