Sailing the Open Sea
Two wonderful ladies with exciting jobs went sailing on a serene afternoon along the York River.
Chanda Ings celebrated her partner Janell Smith-Ings’ birthday, and Janell took it well. “Hooray, I’m 40!” she exclaimed from the bow. Janelle teaches dance for the Governor’s School in Norfolk and is an adjunct professor of dance at the College of William & Mary. I asked which was the hardest to teach. “Ballet is the hardest, followed by tap.”
She said earlier, “My high school students tend to be more talented because they were selectively chosen for the Governor’s School because of their ability. At the college, it’s more of an elective course. Not everyone makes it; many drop out.”
Chanda is a Navy chief with 17 years in and six deployments behind her spanning 12 years. “I’m currently the Flight Deck Chief on the carrier USS Truman,” she said. We set up the jets to take off every two or three seconds. We can launch from Catapult 1 and Catapult 2 at the same time.”
I asked Chanda about why it took to long to get the USS Eisenhower back into action after the arresting gear broke. “It can take three to six months or more because they have to trace back the origin of the snap, which is usually human error or maintenance failure. I was on the George Washington in 2003 when the cable broke down below under the flight deck. Seven people were injured.” I asked if the jet pilot could treat it as a touch-and-go and take off again. “No, the momentum has slowed, so has to eject. People can lose their jobs over these accidents.” Not to mention their lives.
For no particular reason, I told them how the Coleman Bridge stays open an extra 10-15 minutes when the USS Cole and USS Iowa come through to the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station.
“I was there,” Chanda said, “stationed on the USS Cook when it changed out positions with the Cole. At the time of the attack we were a couple hundred miles away and rushed to the scene to assist. It wasn’t at the port of Yemen exactly, but rather at a fuel barge out in the water. When we there before the Cole got attacked, those local boats came up to us all the time to check us out and wave. We thought nothing of it.
“Ships like the Cole and the Iowa are called Golden Ships. Because of their experience, they get special treatment everywhere out of respect to the tragedies that befell them.
Later in the afternoon a family went sailing as the wind picked up nicely. I hardly got to ask what they did in life as I was still blown away by Chanda and Janell. Janell said of Chanda, “She goes to sea tomorrow on her next deployment.”
Let’s Go Sail
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