My wife’s friend from undergrad at Cal is currently serving in the JAG Corp on the Carl Vinson, so we were extremely fortunate to have a personal tour of the aircraft carrier. We got amazing access to the ship and really got an intimate look at what life is like on a carrier. It was also an honor to meet all of the servicemen and women.
My wife’s friend graduated from Columbia law school and probably could have worked for any big law firm but instead chose to join the Navy, sacrificing a high paying job, friends and family, and many of the comforts that we normally take for granted.
Even with the rank of a Lt. Commander, she shares a small state room, essentially the size of a dorm room, where she gets the top bunk. Some officers have to share four people to a room. The enlisted are much more cramped than the officers. Keep in mind that this is on a carrier, the largest ship in the fleet. The heads (bathrooms on a ship) are much like bathrooms in college dorms, just more cramped and dark if you can imagine.
Despite the sacrifices that she’s had to make, she’s still not ready to leave the Navy. Even after 10 years of serving her country, where work days average 12 hours or more and not being able to see the sun for days, she continues to enjoy her job.
I’m ashamed but very grateful that I have such a comfortable life. It’s always good to be reminded of this.