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

Reynolds CC to host sculptor Paul DiPasquale

Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10

For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.


Reader Survey | Advertising | Email updates


Place an Ad | More Classifieds


The Henrico County Community Author Showcase, a program that connects writers and readers in the community, will begin at 7 p.m. and continue on the second Monday and every Thursday of the month at various libraries. Melissa Gay will share her book “When Are You Leaving” at Libbie Mill Library. For details, visit Full text

Your weather just got better.


Henrico's Top Teachers

The Plate