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VOL. 5| ISSUE 5 NOV 27, 2016



in this issue: 08

NIMITZ NEWS Capt. John Ring Commanding Officer Capt. Todd Marzano Executive Officer MCPO Jimmy Hailey Command Master Chief

Media Department Lt. Cmdr. Theresa Donnelly PAO Ens. Meagan Morrison DIVO Chief Ahron Arendes Media LCPO PO1 Porter Anderson Media LPO PO2 Jimmy Cellini Production LPO PO2 Andrew Price Creative Lead PO2 Holly Herline Phojo WCS SN Emily Johnston Lead Designer

STEP INTO OUR WORLD: Learn why USS Nimitz (CVN 68) welcomes aboard civilains and foreign dignitaries during distinguished visitor tours and how it helps gain support from those back home.

PO2 Mark Brison PO2 Jesse Gray PO2 Jose Hernandez PO2 Siobhana McEwen PO2 Ian Zagrocki PO3 Chad Anderson PO3 Samuel Bacon PO3 Kenneth Blair PO3 William Blees PO3 Eric Butler PO3 Colby Comery PO3 Marc Cuenca PO3 Deanna Gonzales PO3 Austin Haist PO3 Lauren Jennings PO3 Erickson Magno PO3 Weston Mohr PO3 Liana Nichols PO3 Bethany Woolsey SN David Claypool SN Cody Deccio SN Cole Schroeder SN Leon Wong

12 HONOR, COURAGE AND THE COMMITMENT TO NO. 2: There are a small group of Sailors on board that are willing to do the work many would choose to avoid. The Sailors of the habibility shop work on the plumbing system and all the pipes that go with it. Read more to find out about the Sailors that keep it all flowing.



Our Navy




fter a flight to C hicago , a hundred or more young men and women sit on a large bus in the dark, white knuckled with knots in their stomachs trying to stay calm. Videos play on the bus, one with a man wearing a khaki uniform and the other explaining hair regulations. The passengers are nervous and confused as they look out at the blurred lines passing the windows while they drive down the highway to their destination. The driver stops and they have arrived. The passengers file off the bus as they walk into a building that says Recruit Training Command (RTC). This is the place the Navy transforms civilians into Sailors. Recruit division commanders (RDC) lead divisions of recruits and help guide, teach and mentor them as they take their first steps in a life-long transition that starts with eight weeks at RTC. Chief Gregory Piazza, now stationed on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) had the chance to experience being a RDC after 15 years in the Navy. For many recruits walking into RTC, the first exposure they get to the Navy is their RDCs. For recruits, they are the Navy. That’s a heavy load for RDCs to bear on their shoulders. Qualified and experienced RDCs, who are ready for the responsibility, differentiate themselves with a red aiguillette, or red rope, around their left shoulders. New RDCs in training wear a blue rope. Regardless of the color, a Sailor who wears a trainer aiguillette carries the weight of the fleet on his or her shoulders. “RDCs can make a great impression, or a bad impression,” said Piazza. “Either way, those Sailors will mimic a lot of things they do because recruits don’t know any better. You’re training them from ground zero, and you’re trying to give the best product to the fleet.” One of Piazza’s former recruits said that he gave off the stereotypical scary RDC vibe. “He was definitely intimidating,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class John Duya. “He always came in when we were about to get in trouble, almost like he knew ahead of time. After a while, he began to be more of a mentor. I could always tell that he cared. He was always checking up on us and making sure we were doing well.” Many Sailors remember their time at RDC as being one with little sleep and a challenging schedule. But the job requires even more from an RDC. Trying to bring out the best in recruits and molding the best Sailors to send out to the fleet takes months of training from RDCs.

“The job is not easy,” said Piazza. “You’re going to be getting up earlier than recruits and going to sleep later than them. You have to do it seven days a week for two months, then you’ll get another group in two months and do the whole process over.” The time RDCs spend with recruits can take a lot of endurance to guide them all the way until the end of their time at RTC. “Once RDCs start training recruits, they can’t just stop and take a day off,” said Piazza. “RDCs have to follow through with everything they’re teaching until the recruits walk off that drill deck and become Sailors.” Piazza made it a personal mission to spend extra time with his recruits to ensure they were trained correctly and were taught exactly what is necessary to succeed. “Whenever Chief was there, he would put a lot of his effort into us,” said Duya. “It wasn’t just a job for him. He actually cared about us as recruits and about us learning the right things.”

REDISCOVERING HIS INNER SAILOR Piazza trained nine divisions of recruits during his tour at RTC. However, beforehand he had to endure a 13-week RDC school. That meant having to endure intense training exercises and detailed uniform inspections daily. RDCs in training must be physically fit and mentally strong to endure the amount of training and the arduous environment in which they are being trained. “It started off rough,” said Piazza. “I wasn’t good at physical training (PT). I could pass my physical fitness assessment, but that’s not good enough there. You have to straight out PT for an hour and a half, five days a week. You’re going to get hurt at some point, whether it’s your knees, your feet or your arms. It’s a matter of how much determination you’re going to have. Are you going to see it through, or are you going to go to medical and tap out? It’s a mental thing. The instructors aren’t there to be your friend. For me, coming from a ship as a leading petty officer at the time, I thought I was pretty good at my job. I showed up at RTC, and I wasn’t good at being a RDC. I wasn’t learning the curriculum like I should, and there are petty officers and chiefs telling me I wasn’t doing well. In a way, I went through boot camp before I trained the recruits.” After a month of struggling, it all started to click for Piazza and everything started to get smoother as


Our Navy


he got further into his training. “About a month into it, I got into what we call ‘beast’ mode, where I got excellent at PT, and everything else fell into place,” he said. “It’s a rough transition for everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s just like boot camp; it’s a mind thing.” Piazza struggled in his early days as a blue rope and lost his motivation. While in school, Piazza was promoted to chief petty officer two months after arriving at RTC, which led him to Boston for Chief Week. During Chief Week, Piazza went underway on USS Constitution, where he got a chance to sail on the historic vessel and march around the city of Boston. During that week, Piazza’s passion for the Navy was rekindled, and it gave him a sense of pride and accomplishment. “I had 15 years in the Navy and my career seemed like it wasn’t going much further,” said Piazza. “That kind of revamped my whole career, my enthusiasm about the Navy, my pride and professionalism, and all while I was training to be an RDC. That all led up to my “rebirth.” It was an exciting tour, but it wasn’t easy. When it’s not easy and you’re successful at it, it’s even more rewarding in the end.” The trials that Piazza overcame helped mold him into the leader he is today and become an example for Sailors. Piazza said that recruits don’t know what leadership is in the Navy and a RDC is the first form of leader that they meet in their military careers. “When recruits see an RDC, in their mind, that is the Navy,” said Piazza. “Even though they’re not on a ship, that’s what they remember. Once they get out of boot camp, school, and get out to the fleet, they might have many different petty officers, chiefs, and officers, but for a majority of them they always remember their RDCs.” After his three-and-a-half year tour at RTC, Piazza had become a better leader and brought that leadership to his following command, Nimitz.

LIFE AFTER RTC Piazza has had many recruits go out to the fleet, and some of his old recruits are now Sailors assigned to Nimitz. “When I see them, and they’re smiling because they see me, I know that there’s respect there,” said Piazza. “They respect me for being their RDC, and I respect them for listening to me when I told them do the right thing and stay out of trouble. Now they’re

here in the fleet, and they’re going in the right direction.” Piazza was a mentor for countless recruits, and to some of his recruits he is still a figure to be respected. His former recruits can still count on him as a guide. “He initially approached me and asked me about my Air Warfare pin after I received my Surface Warfare pin,” said Duya. “He’s always assuring me that if I ever needed help that he would be there for me to guide and mentor me. Piazza’s former recruits often come and tell him of their accomplishments, whether it’s earning qualifications, warfare pins, or advancement. Seeing his Sailors improving in the Navy helps reassure Piazza that his hard work had an effect on his former recruits’ lives. At RTC, Piazza led and mentored more than 800 recruits. Some of his recruits could potentially have interests in becoming RDCs. Piazza said that Sailors who want to become RDCs should prepare themselves physically, mentally and be willing to fail. “There are going to be times when you’re sad; there are going to be times when you’re happy and motivated,” said Piazza. “If you’re not 100% devoted to training recruits and doing the job the right way, you might not have a good tour there. However, if you play by the rules and put passion into your job it’s going to show, and your recruits are going to reflect that leadership. It’s an absolute direct reflection of RDCs.” Piazza said if there’s one thing that RTC taught him it’s to follow the rules. When good Sailors are seen in the fleet, it could be that their RDCs made a mark on their career. After eight-weeks of PT, uniform inspections and marching drills, recruits will be ready to graduate from RTC. Recruits file in division by division led by their RDCs. As they face their cheering families, the division’s RDCs stand proudly in front of them. For one RDC, a feeling of nostalgia comes over the Sailor as he remembers being in formation with Chief Piazza in the same spot he is in now. He leaves each and every one of his recruits with the military knowledge and bearing that was passed down from Chief Piazza and prior generations. The RDCs at RTC are still molding civilians into Sailors who will impact the fleet. As Sailors make their way through the ranks, it’s a possibility that those Sailors will be up next to take the reins as future mentors of the Navy.



DV tours give outsiders a look at day-to-day operations on board Nimitz. It grants civilians and other dignitaries the opportunity to experience a Sailor’s life, and show them what the U.S. Navy is capable of. Story by SN Cole Schroeder


“Several emotions hit me at the same time, but one was certainly pride when I embraced the ship,” said Louisiana congressman Ralph L. Abraham, when asked about his initial interactions with the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) during a distinguished visitor (DV) tour. “Once on board, I felt immense pride when I saw our young Sailors and everybody that is part of the crew. You guys believe in better communities, better schools and a better country.” DV tours give outsiders a look at day-to-day operations on board Nimitz. It grants influential civilians and other dignitaries the opportunity to experience a Sailor’s life and show them what the U.S. Navy is capable of. During a normal tour, visitors are flown on board and are almost immediately greeted by the commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief. After the initial greet and a couple safety briefs, half the group heads to the flight deck, and the other half heads to the island, specifically the bridge, to watch flight operations. Visitors are also shown medical and dental and given a tour of the foc’sle, ordnance control, and the jet shop. This well rounded schedule guarantees that the DVs interact with all functions of the ship and how everything works together. Visitors can expect to eat in the wardroom with the officers the first night, eat breakfast the next morning in the chiefs mess, and lunch on the enlisted mess decks before they leave. This ensures they gain perspective from every rank, which helps them get a full understanding of life on board. “A lot of times the military is so far removed from the civilian community in America,” said Lt. Christopher Moore, the V-2 Division Officer. “They see it on TV but they don’t get to experience it; they don’t get to see what we do and honestly, we can’t do what we do without the support of the people back home.” Moore acts as a flight deck escort for the DVs that


come to get a first-hand look at life on board a United States aircraft carrier. “To a lot of people, it’s a very foreign world, the Navy, the military, so this is our chance to bring them out here and let them step into our world and see what it is that we do and how well we do it,” said Moore. “Let’s face it, no one else in the world does what we do.” Moore said that with a shrinking percentage of American citizens who have served or are currently serving in the military, DV tours have become increasingly important. They bolster the support of family and friends back home and make the job worth it. Petty Officer 1st Class Ynocincio Martinez, a long time DV tour guide on multiple ships, credits the tours a great deal when it comes to boosting morale. “For me it’s about accomplishment,” said Martinez. “Anybody and everybody wants to feel good about what they do in life. DV tours not only bring up morale in the shops that get to interact with DVs, but that sense of pride carries throughout the ship when a Sailor is recognized for the work they have done.” The tours not only benefit the ship by boosting morale and bringing the civilian and military sectors together, but they also provide an amazing experience to the guests. One of Moore’s favorite tours happened aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). His experience involved a group,


which included a foreign commander who had little to no experience on an aircraft carrier. After launching a few aircraft on the flight deck, Moore looked over at the foreign officer and was greeted by the biggest smile and large piece of non-skid lodged in his teeth. He was clearly unfazed, despite the piece of flight deck in his mouth, because he was so amazed by the operations he was seeing on the flight deck. Moore gives praise to all the Sailors in his division. With the majority of them being fairly young, he finds comfort in their effort day in and day out in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. To Martinez, his favorite experiences on DV tours are the ones that involve the fairly young or the relatively old crowd. These tour members give the greatest showing of appreciation and fascination to the work that Sailors do. The reactions from these two crowds are what make the tours fun and enjoyable for him. “Sometimes we take for granted what we do here, because we’re so used to it and we’re so good at it,” said Moore. “We forget how impressive it is because we do it so often but it really is an incredible and amazing thing these Sailors are doing at such a young age.” At the end of the tour, Abraham was asked to comment on what he took away overall. “It reinforced what hopefully I already knew – we are among the best of the best,” said Abraham. “We are able to sleep well at night because of the wonderful men and women aboard this carrier.”

Several emotions hit me at the same time, but one was certainly pride when I embraced the ship.







You push the lever and the water swirls down until it disappears. You walk to the sink, wash your hands and return to work. On board an aircraft carrier there are thousands of Sailors going to the bathroom day and night. Since it is a normal part of people’s day, not many stop to think about how waste processing works, they just assume that it will. But, who responds to the call when something goes wrong? The enormous task of ensuring the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) has flowing plumbing for its thousands of residents is the responsibility of the Sailors, formerly known as Hull Technicians (HT), who are assigned to the an



ship’s Habitability Shop. “We’re number one in the number two business,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Courtney Wanamaker, a native of Rainier, Ore. “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.” With 197 toilets on board, and five Collection, Holding, and Transfer (CHT) tanks (holding up to 136,000 gallons of waste), the ‘number two business’ on board Nimitz is an enterprise that requires a lot of work and attention. Not only are the habitability shop Sailors responsible for nearly 100 miles of CHT piping, but also the majority of other pipes on board. They also work on ensuring the steam system is able to get Sailors hot water in order to keep galley food warm and provide

hot water for showers. “Our job involves fixing the ship’s pipes, and maintaining the sewage system on board,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Grissom, a native of Desoto, Missouri., “Basically, if it’s a pipe we technically own it.” Most of the piping that runs through the ship has been here since Nimitz was built 41 years ago. “Because of the age of the system, if you have a 4-inch pipe there’s probably only about an inch and a half opening with all the years of calcium buildup on the inside,” said Grissom. “So, anything that isn’t poop or single ply toilet paper is going to cause issues.” Petty Officer 2nd Class Toby Martin, a native of Point Pleasant, West


Virginia said he was disgusted during his first day on the job when he had to pull hygiene items and paper towels out of a toilet. “You get over it really quick,” said Martin. “Do I really want to stick my hand in poop? No. But it has to get done for the good of the ship and her crew.” Many of the jobs HT’s carry out have a high priority because they affect the whole crew and ship operations in one way or another. Sometimes whole systems have to get shut down so that they can repair a pipe. Because everyone uses these pipes every day, they don’t get to rest until the job is done. “A job could take four hours, 12 hours, or even 36 hours. It all just depends on how big the job is,” said Wanamaker. A simple clogged drain will take relatively no time at all to fix, while a crack in a distilling unit will take much longer and effect more of the crew. Because of poop and other health concerns, the work area is sanitized with betadine after the repair has been completed. After the area is cleaned it is inspected by medical personnel to ensure there are no remaining health hazards that could affect the rest of the crew. Medical department also performs yearly checkups with Habitability Sailors to ensure they haven’t gotten sick and gives them shots, and to prevent any possible illnesses. Along with the shots and checkups, there is certain protective equipment that needs to be worn during work for safety. Tie-back suits and chemical gloves keep uniforms clean, while face shields and safety goggles make sure the eyes don’t come into contact with any bodily waste. In spaces that have loud machinery hearing protection may also be necessary. Although they are happy to do their duty, many of the repairs that HT’s perform are easily preventable by Sailors disposing of things the way they’re supposed to. Anything that isn’t bodily waste or single ply toilet paper does not belong in the plumbing system. It makes their job more of a challenge and keeping trash out of the plumbing also supports the material condition of the ship. “If people came and lived a day as one of us, I know they would think twice about what they’re putting in our pipes,” said Grissom. “It just makes more work for us when people don’t throw things in the trash or get their repair parts petty officer to get them toilet paper.” These Sailors play an important role in assisting the ship in completing her mission. They make sure Sailors are able to have access to showers, warm food, and bathrooms so they can return to their jobs and help Nimitz flush out the enemy.







weekly throwback 1988- Nimitz sailors participate in a General Quarters drill.


Nimitz News accepts submissions in writing. All submissions are subject to review and editing. “Nimitz News” is an authorized publication for the members of the military services and their families. Its content does not necessarily reflect the official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy, or the Marine Corps and does not imply endorsement thereby.

through | the | lens

Vice Adm. Nora W. Tyson speaks with PO2 Samuel Harshberger (right) and Chief Jason Adams about an MK-38 machine gun aboard Nimitz. Photo by SN Cody Deccio SN Josue Cordero Fernandez (left) and SN Brian Emanuel perform preventative maintenance on an engine sling adaptor in the jet shop. Photo by SN Cole Schroeder SN Zach Frey shoots a .50-caliber machine gun during a live-fire exercise on board Nimitz. Photo by SN Leon Wong



November 27 Nimitz News