In the Navy Now
Through a phone conversation that spanned an ocean, U.S. Navy Mate Fireman Mark Davis, a 2008 graduate of Mills E. Godwin High, shared with the Henrico Citizen’s Caitlin Davis (no relation) a glimpse into what his daily life aboard the USS Harry S. Truman is like.
“The Navy has invested a lot in me, and I have invested a lot in the Navy,” he said.
Portions of his interview follow.
Henrico Citizen: Why did you decide to join the Navy?
Mark Davis: I have always wanted to join the military. I didn’t think that I would be very good at college. . .just my personality. I didn’t go to college because I was afraid of getting arrested or getting expelled. I was not quite as disciplined as I am now.
HC: What is it like living on a ship?
Davis: It’s kinda like a city, but it doesn’t feel like a city to me. There are 5,000 sailors, and I work at the bottom of the ship; I only see one-third of the crew. There are 182 other guys in the area where I sleep, and the bunk beds are stacked three high. If you can sleep, you do sleep. Overall it’s not too bad; sometimes space is a little small.
HC: Describe your job in the Navy.
Davis: I am usually turning wrenches most of the day. We monitor the seals and are responsible for the upkeep. Our gear is pretty well maintained. We do a good job of preventive maintenance. We have to make sure the ship doesn’t flood.
HC: What have you changed since being in the Navy?
Davis: There have been some subtle changes. I am more disciplined. I don’t get into nearly as much trouble as I used to; it’s hard to get into trouble with the Navy. If you show up on time, do your job moderately well. . .you’ll be fine.
HC: What have you learned in the Navy?
Davis: I was in the Boy Scouts while I was at Godwin. It taught me some leadership skills and how to deal with people from different backgrounds. Since being in the Navy, I learned that people from different backgrounds can still get the job done. I have also learned more leadership skills, more discipline, more control, and I have learned more about being a mechanic.
HC: So far, what has been your most memorable memory with the Navy?
Davis: I got to go out on the flight deck and watched as we went through the Strait of Gibraltar; on one side there was one continent, Europe, and on the other side there was another continent, Africa. Not many people get to see that.
HC: Is living on a ship a lonely life?
Davis: I don’t think it’s a lonely life. I had friends before I got on the ship. Sometimes it can be lonely when I hear about my friends who have gotten married and I don’t have a girlfriend. I can call and email my friends and family and keep in touch.
HC: What do you miss the most about being on land?
Davis: I miss being able to do things on my own time. I stay busy on the ship. I don’t feel trapped, and I don’t have time to miss dry land.
HC: What is something you would like to experience while in the Navy?
Davis: I would like to go inside the Arctic Circle. I want to stay in the Navy long enough to do that, but it depends upon what ship you get stationed on.
HC: What are your plans after the Navy?
Davis: I’m not sure yet. I have two years left in my current contract. I may reenlist, go to college or join the Marine Corps.
– Caitlin Davis
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
The Innsbrook Rotary Club, which is celebrating its 25th year in 2015, has completed a number of volunteer projects this year and raised thousands of dollars for various organizations through three events.
The club's annual rose sale, benefit for youth live auction and Virginia Fire Games competition, combined with individual and corporate donations, have raised nearly $70,000 – money that the club contributes back to the community.
FeedMore is the beneficiary of the club's 25th anniversary project, which provides refrigerated trailers to be used for the distribution of food throughout Central Virginia. > Read more.
Chef Bryan Voltaggio will host a special three-course dinner event July 21-22 at his Willow Lawn Family Meal restaurant. The menu will consist of his favorite dishes and offer diners the chance to purchase a signed copy of his newly released book, HOME.
Voltaggio will attend and cook at each dinner, as well as share stories that inspired recipes for the book. > Read more.
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