Hawaii sailors glad to be near home on-board U.S.S. Ronald Reagan - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii sailors glad to be near home on-board U.S.S. Ronald Reagan

Chad Herbstsommer Chad Herbstsommer
Thomas Harwood Thomas Harwood
Jordan Salsas Jordan Salsas
Yancy Cuniga Yancy Cuniga
Thomas Rowden Thomas Rowden

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

ON-BOARD U.S.S. RONALD REAGAN (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 60 aircrafts and 4,500 people call the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan home.

A handful of Hawaii sailors taking part in this year's Rimpac exercises are glad to be home, near their families.

At 97,000 tons and spanning 4.5 acres, the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is not only a strikingly massive ship, it's also playing a huge role in the ongoing Rimpac exercises, taking place all around the state.

Chris Herbstsommer spends his days launching and recovering aircraft on the flight deck of the ship

The Kaneohe boy eventually wants to do this or something similar as a career, even if at first it was a tough challenge for him.

"When I joined the military, it's a whole new experience because all of these people are just trying to be my friend, I nevah like be their friend, but that's the only way you can make a living here," he said.

Herbstsommer says the job has its up ands downs. He sometimes works 22 hour shifts, with only three hours of sleep.

"We're bringing 90,000 tons of diplomacy out here, to the central pacific in order to demonstrate our resolve, to give our light-minded partners here an understanding of carrier operations," Rear Admiral Thomas Rowden said.

Other Hawaii-born sailors like Jordan Salas and Yancy Cuniga say adapting is the key when it comes to living here.

"Nobody's going to help you, if you don't help yourself," Salas said.

Cuniga say most of the time, he thinks about where's from.

"That's what gets me going, being from Hawaii is truly unique, when you meet other local people, there's a bond," he said.

All three Hawaii sailors appreciate this special opportunity and most of all, being close to home.

"This is a unique opportunity for total force, multi-national, all of the services in a multi-national arena to come together and do both of the things, we get to fly together, on land and sea," Brigadier General Thomas Harwood said.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly