An Interview with Navy ____________________________________________About Navy ShipsQ It seems like the Navy today is nothing like the Navy we hear about during World War II.Do we still have as many ships as we did then?A It’s true that the U.S. Navy is much different now. During World War II, America neededto have lots of ships to safeguard shipping convoys and to deal with the aggression of ourenemies. In fact, we had more than 6,700 ships then. By contrast, today’s ships are much larger,faster and more powerful, so we need fewer of them. We can dominate the world’s oceans todaywith about 250 ships.Q Is sea transportation less important today than it once was? Is that the reason that we needfewer ships?A Actually, sea transportation still is the most important mode of moving goodsinternationally. About 90 percent of the worlds goods travel by sea, so safeguarding commercialshipping is still a major mission for our Navy. Quite simply, changes in technology and in ourability to build larger and yet more efficient watercraft have changed the nature of our operationscompletely. The makeup of our fleet is completely different.Q We rarely hear about battleships these days. How important are those?A Once the command ships in America’s fleet, the last battleships to be used were actuallytaken out of mothballs to be used briefly during the Vietnam War. They were scrapped followingthat because other ship designs became more useful. Our aircraft carriers clearly now are ourcommand vessels and our battle groups are configured around them.Q How many aircraft carriers do we have and what makes them so special?A Right now we have 11 aircraft carriers in operation, and these ships are like floating citieswith airports. To give you a sense of the size and scope, each carrier has its own ZIP code,carries roughly 80 aircraft, and serves more than 18,000 meals each day. When battleships werethe most dominant vessels on the seas, their scope of influence was really limited by the range oftheir guns. That range, while formidable, was still only a few miles in any direction. The aircraftaboard today’s aircraft carriers can strike targets hundreds of miles out, and each carrier hasmore capacity for aircraft now than ever before.Q You mentioned battle groups, so besides aircraft carriers, what other kinds of ships doesthe Navy have?
A Aircraft Carriers can’t perform all of the Navy’s tasks, so other ships with special warfarecapabilities are components of the fleet as well. Destroyers, cruisers, frigates, amphibious craftand submarines are the key players, but a variety of other ships are involved as well.Q What does each of those ships do?A Well, Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates make certain no carrier, cargo/supply ship oroil tanker proceeds into an area where enemy action is possible. With lightning-quickcommunications, space-based radar systems, precision weapons and advanced engineeringsystems, these agile surface warfare ships provide anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-shipprotective measures. Cruisers are modern guided-missile vessels that are used primarily in abattle force role. In a sense, they are the replacements for battleships. Destroyers, like Cruisers,are guided-missile vessels. They take part in a variety of missions, supporting carrier andexpeditionary strike groups and surface strike groups. The role of frigates is to assist amphibiousexpeditionary forces and replenish groups and merchant convoys.Q You mentioned missiles. Did these replace guns?A Our ships still have guns for use in close-in combat situations, but missiles aresignificantly better for fighting at long range. They strike targets precisely, eliminating a lot ofunnecessary casualties and collateral damage. They also require more highly educated andtrained personnel to operate and maintain them.Q What is the role of the Navy’s amphibious craft?A Performing in groups of three ships, the Amphibious Force in America’s Navy is knownfor its ability to move swiftly through water and over land. They operate year-round, handlingpower projection and beach assault, as well as assisting in crisis response, humanitarianoperations and disaster relief. Along with troops, equipment and supplies, these ships holdtracked and wheeled all-terrain vehicles, a large array of helicopters, other amphibious landingcraft and assault vehicles. These self-sufficient vessels make it possible for the U.S. to exercisemilitary power far from American shores. They also provide for non-combatant evacuation andother humanitarian missions.Q How do submarines fit into this mix?A America’s Navy submarines and their crews play a number of roles in both war andpeace time: attack, surveillance, commando insertion, research, and nuclear deterrence. Throughall this, the Navy has found individuals to serve proudly in the “Silent Service,” where standards
are high and victories are often kept secret.In order to carry out their missions, submariners are equipped with some of the most high-techequipment in the world, from special mini-subs for inserting SEAL teams into hostile targetareas to ballistic missiles to advanced computers and sonar equipment. This category probablydeserves a completely separate interview.Q You have touched upon a variety of subject ranging from ships to aircraft to missiles tosubmarines. How does one get started pursuing some of these opportunities?A Actually, the best first step is to contact the local recruiting station to find out about anyand all of the jobs that we have available. To reach us, simply contact our station by calling______________, or stop in most afternoons at ___________________________________. Ifyou or an out of-town friend want to locate another station near them, visit www.navy.com andclick on “find a recruiter” on the right side of the home page, then enter your zip code number. Acall to 800-4go –Navy will do the trick as well.Additional comment:To put the Navy’s role in perspective, you need to recognize that 70 percent of the world iscovered by ocean, 80 percent of the world’s population lives along coasts and 90 percent of theworld’s commerce travels by water. Protecting all of that is our job, and that makes America’sNavy a global force for good.Sailors serve on land and from the sea; from ships on the water, submarines under the water, andplanes and helicopters over the water – all to meet America’s threats far away so that thosethreats cannot harm us here. We welcome the best men and women to join us in accomplishingtoday’s missions and meeting tomorrow’s challenges.30