Because the US Sec of Defense decided to visit the US Navy Nuclear Air Craft Carrier Nimitz (CVAN-68) on it’s return from 10 months of the waters of the Middle East….
The media got a chance to talk to crew members….
A mounting pandemic death toll. A contested election. A riot at the Capitol. “The world at home has become completely different and we don’t know what we are coming home to,” one sailor on the Nimitz said….
ABOARD U.S.S. NIMITZ, off California — When this aircraft carrier and its city-size crew departed Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Wash., on April 27, George Floyd was still alive.
Donald J. Trump was still president, Georgia had two Republican senators, and some 56,000 people in the United States had died of the coronavirus.
Now, 10 months later, the nuclear-powered warship is returning home to a country vastly different from the one it left. That difference was highlighted on Thursday when the new defense secretary — for the first time, an African-American — landed aboard to talk to a travel-weary and isolated crew.
“Secretary of defense in combat!” came the announcement.
Lloyd J. Austin III, his baritone ringing through the ship’s public-address system, told the sailors and pilots on the Nimitz that he knew what it felt like to be cut off from life during extended deployments: Mr. Austin, a retired Army four-star general, was posted in Iraq about a decade ago for a tour even longer than the Nimitz’s….
They watched the presidential election returns from the Indian Ocean and woke up the morning of Jan. 7, in the Persian Gulf, to the news that rioters had stormed the Capitol.
Petty Officer First Class Christina Ray, 31, said she turned on the television in her office on the ship’s second deck, and stared at the images. She recalled being aghast at what was happening.
“That type of violence was what we were supposed to be defending the country against,” she said in an interview. “The world at home has become completely different and we don’t know what we are coming home to.”
image…Sec of Defense Austin give a ‘fist pump’ to one of the carrier bosses on the deck…Helene Cooper/The New York Times