Faculty members Christine Gilbert, Stefano Brizzolara, and Eric Paterson had a unique opportunity to tour and visit the USS New Mexico (SSN 779, a Los-Angelos Class fast attack submarine), the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), North Island Naval Air Station, and the Submarine Training Facility San Diego at Naval Base Point Loma.    The visit was sponsored by the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power Officer Candidate (NUPOC) Program, and was designed to inform faculty at major universities about student opportunities in the nuclear Navy.   

During the shore-based portion of the visit, Drs. Gilbert, Brizzolara, and Paterson observed how submariners are trained to operate submarines, and to fight fires and flooding accidents.   They also toured the Helicopter Maintenance Hanger, and the maintenance facilities for the carrier-based F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.   On a guided tour through the nuclear-powered LA-class submarine, they had a chance to see up close the crew living spaces, weapons-handling spaces, and the control room.

Since the USS Nimitz was 100 miles off-shore, they flew out on a Grumman C-2 Greyhound and experienced a carrier landing.   During the two days at sea, they had an extensive tour of the USS Nimitiz and observed nearly all aspects of life aboard a US Navy carrier, including flight operations during both day and night.   They were guests of the XO (Executive Officer) for dinner, and had lunch with the chief petty officers.  While the two-bunk “Distinguished Visitor” state rooms were large (in comparison to those on the submarine), they were located right below the flight deck which allowed the sounds of aircraft operations to be heard well past midnight.   The trip concluded with a catapult launch of the C-2 and flight back to North Island NAS.