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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
Community

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

Henricus Historical Park to host Publick Day Sept. 20

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.

Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


TGIF! Celebrate the weekend at Oak Hall Baptist Church’s Community Block Party on Saturday. Learn more about ballroom dancing, art and Colonial times. Or take the kids to Generation Z Games for water play or Southern Season to cook up a Disney-theme meal. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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