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The day started like any other. With the loud awakening sound of the drowsy Messenger calling out my name for me to get up and stand another long watch. This was the first sound I would hear every time I awake from sleep while underway on a ship. A normal day underway is actually half of a day cycled through twice with sleep, chow, and watch, before returning to your berthing to sleep and start the cycle all over again.
As I rise from the small claustrophobic rack, which is actually a 2.5X6 foot compartment that holds the only personal possessions I have out to sea, I realize that I only got three hours of sleep. The rumbling of the propellers cutting through the open ocean water is a constant reminder that I am far from home. As my shipmate awakes for his watch also, he turns to me and says “Just another beautiful day underway.” Getting ready for watch takes some getting use to as I walk to the head, which is a bathroom, in my flat spongy shower shoes. As I pass through the latched thick metal door I find the sharpest looking sink to lay my shaving cream down. Wiping my exhausted eyes I get the briny smell of saltwater from the toilets. While shaving I keep telling myself only five more days and I will be in Sydney, Australia. The only
satisfaction of being underway is knowing that I will be visiting foreign places. After shaving I brush my teeth until they feel fresh and clean, before hurrying back to the berthing and getting dressed for watch. While putting on my navy blue coveralls my buddy ask me if I wanted to get some chow with him before watch. I haven’t eaten anything since the bowl of noodles I had last watch so I agree to go with him.
The ship chow line is always long and slow due to the amount of hungry sailors…
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…et relieved so I prepare my turnover sheet for the next guy to know exactly what I did to the equipment during the watch. As I make my way out of the space I try to hurry and make it to the showers before everyone else gets off watch.
Back in the berthing I complete my shower, and slip back into my rack. I put my I-pod on and listen to some soothing music to relax me from the stress filled life of being away from my family and home. I have many pictures of family and friend hanging on the wall of my tiny rack. The pictures are a good motivator to why I am serving my country in the United States Navy. No sooner than it feels like I fall asleep I hear the annoying sound of the Messenger calling my name to wake up for watch. It has been six hours since I left my watch station only to have to return and do it all over again before this day ends and another begins.