Navy Ship Transits

When she arrived from New Hampshire on vacation to take her mother and daughter sailing on the York River, the last thing Evelyn Hooper expected to see on a breezy afternoon was a US Navy warship. Up came the USS Nitze, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. All three ladies got to watch as the Coleman Bridge opened both span sideways to let the ship transit to the nearby Naval Weapons Station.

Navy Ship TransitsThe next surprise was that there was no wake. Navy wizards learned from World War II that the easiest way to spot a ship from the air was to look for the wake behind it because the wake left a much larger footprint than the ship itself. Today’s Navy leaves no wake, or so it seems. Ten minutes later, as we headed into port, perceptibly rolling waves came across the river and rocked us from the aft quarter. A military source told me later that even though the destroyers look squared off in the back, they actually have curved sterns much like a sailboat and that’s what muffles the wake.

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Navy Ship Transits

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