JohnJ
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Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:18 am

We're driving from Connecticut to North Carolina the week of August 20, and will overnight somewhere in the Norfolk area. My 5-year-old son is nuts about carriers (as am I), and while he's seen them before it would be nice for him to get another opportunity to see one or more on this trip. I know we won't be able to get anywhere near the base, but also I know you can see the carriers from afar on I-64 just before you go through the tunnel between Hampton and Norfolk. First, does anyone know whether any carriers will be in port at that time? I saw where the Enterprise just left, but the two carriers currently in the Gulf (Nimitz and Stennis) are both west-coast carriers, which leaves me with some optimism we might see several.

Second, is the George H.W. Bush still under construction in Newport News? Back in the early 1990s my brother and I were able to get surprisingly close to the Washington when she was under construction and it would be neat to check it out if the Bush is still there - there's a carrier there in Google Earth, but it's hard to know when the image was captured.

One last question: I don't know how to post a Google Earth! link, but if you check out Norfolk using Google Earth, three carriers are in port there: the Eisenhower, the Enterprise and the Roosevelt. The latter two have two huge white blocks across their flight deck - is this something Google Earth! did for security or is there actually a tarp across the deck to provide some sunshade for workers (or to hide activity from probing eyes)?
 
checksixx
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:21 am

They are there for work, nothing else. There is no real good spot to see the carriers unless one happens to be coming or going...even then, like I said no real good spots. If your son likes that sort of thing, he may like the USS Wisconsin Battleship down at Nauticus in downtown Norfolk. Its open to visitors.
 
halls120
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:55 pm

Quoting JohnJ (Thread starter):
We're driving from Connecticut to North Carolina the week of August 20, and will overnight somewhere in the Norfolk area. My 5-year-old son is nuts about carriers (as am I), and while he's seen them before it would be nice for him to get another opportunity to see one or more on this trip. I know we won't be able to get anywhere near the base, but also I know you can see the carriers from afar on I-64 just before you go through the tunnel between Hampton and Norfolk

Probably the closest you can get a decent vantage spot is at the Norfolk end of the I-64 bridge tunnel. There might be waterside tours from the Norfolk waterfront.

Quoting JohnJ (Thread starter):
First, does anyone know whether any carriers will be in port at that time? I saw where the Enterprise just left, but the two carriers currently in the Gulf (Nimitz and Stennis) are both west-coast carriers, which leaves me with some optimism we might see several.

I'll be in Norfolk this week. I'll see if I can find out.

Quoting JohnJ (Thread starter):
Second, is the George H.W. Bush still under construction in Newport News? Back in the early 1990s my brother and I were able to get surprisingly close to the Washington when she was under construction and it would be neat to check it out if the Bush is still there - there's a carrier there in Google Earth, but it's hard to know when the image was captured.

The USS George H W Bush should still be there. It isn't scheduled for delivery until 2008. The USS Carl Vinson is currently undergoing a RCOH overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
F14D4ever
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:23 pm

Quoting Checksixx (Reply 1):
he may like the USS Wisconsin Battleship down at Nauticus in downtown Norfolk. Its open to visitors.

In fact the boat tour run by Nauticus will take you right past the carriers and probably get you closer than the highway. It'll kill most of a day, but what a way to kill a day! Allow yourself an extra day and go to Nauticus. You won't regret it.
"He is risen, as He said."
 
JohnJ
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Sat Jul 14, 2007 12:13 am

Thanks for the info! F-14D4ever, I checked out the boat tour and it looks totally worthwhile. It's called the "Naval Base Cruise" on the Victory Rover. I might try to leave a day early for our trip to go on the cruise.

The web site, if anyone is interested, is:

http://www.navalbasecruises.com/
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:45 am

Quoting JohnJ (Thread starter):
The latter two have two huge white blocks across their flight deck - is this something Google Earth! did for security or is there actually a tarp across the deck to provide some sunshade for workers (or to hide activity from probing eyes)?

When a boat is in overhaul oftentimes there'll be huge shades erected to keep the elements out of whatever they're working on, whether it be catapults, arresting gear, whatnot...also keeps eyes from looking down from above, yes. That's what those look like, but you never know.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
JohnJ
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:53 pm

In answer to my own question, I found that GlobalSecurity.org has a list of the U.S. carriers with their status. Based on this, this is what I think will be in Norfolk/Newport News in August:

Truman - Deployment Ready
Eisenhower- Post-Deployed (Friends and Family Day Cruise on August 25)
Washington - Pierside PIA+D
Roosevelt - Entered 9-month PIA
Vinson - RCOH

Bush - Building

Plus one extra bonus - the Kennedy.

And this just gets better and better - in addtion to the aforementioned harbor cruise, it appears the Naval Station also offers a tour:

Want to learn about adventure on the open seas? Here's the best way to get up close and personal without enlisting in the Navy! See the world's largest Navy Base on the 45-minute Naval Station Norfolk Tour. This tour takes you dockside to the home of the Atlantic Fleet for an exciting look at aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines and other U.S. Navy vessels protecting our nation everyday. *Due to national security, backpacks are not permitted. Picture ID is also required.

Tour Highlights
Surface and Submarine Force, Naval Station Piers, Heliport, Hawkeye Country, Naval Aviation Depot, Naval Communications Area Master Station Atlantic, Marine Corps Security Battalion, Jamestown Exposition Homes.

NAS Oceana, too, offers tours. I think we will have had our fill of Naval Aviation by the time we leave Norfolk.

[Edited 2007-08-04 16:24:59]
 
checksixx
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:00 am

Sounds good...too bad Langley doesn't do tours.
 
747400sp
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Sun Aug 05, 2007 8:03 am

The IKE and Truman could be there. Hampton Roads Transit, has base tours during the summer time. The ex John F. Kennedy hull is here also.
 
JohnJ
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:51 am

Well, the Norfolk base tour and harbor cruise this weekend turned out to be a bit of a bust from a carrier standpoint. Other than the moribund Kennedy, there were NO carriers in port! The Eisenhower and Truman are out on sea operations (probably back sometime this week), but I expected to at least see the Washington and Roosevelt since they're undergoing PIA. I wasn't familiar enough with Norfolk to know about the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, but when I got back to the hotel after the cruise it didn't take much Google Earth scouring to find the location of the shipyard. The following day we drove down there, and sure enough the Roosevelt and Washington were in port, side by side. From there we drove up to Newport News and got a good view of the Vinson, and a fleeting glimpse of the Bush.

This was bad luck on our part - I highly recommend both the base tour and the Victory Rover harbor cruise. Maybe next time we'll see some carriers!
 
DeltaGuy
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:57 am

Quoting 747400sp (Reply 8):
The ex John F. Kennedy hull is here also.

Between this and the other thread, she sounds abandoned now!

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
JohnJ
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RE: Carriers In Hampton Roads In August

Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:59 pm

And as a final note on this chapter, I managed to talk my wife into going back through Norfolk/VA Beach on our way back from North Carolina. This allowed us to take the Hampton Roads Transit Oceana base tour, run by the same folks as the Naval Base tour. I have to say, the Oceana tour blew the Naval Base tour away. It lasted for 3 hours vs. 45 minutes for the Naval Base. Despite all that time, we probably didn't see as much of Oceana as we did the Naval Base. Instead, a lot of our time was spent sitting on the bus at the end of a runway watching an endless stream of F/A-18s take off - and that was just fine with me. One disappointment was that the bus is no longer allowed inside the flightline fence, but we still saw quite a bit - and photography was unrestricted, whereas on the Naval Base tour we were told our cameras would be confiscated if we took pictures outside the designated photo areas.

A highlight of the tour was lunch at the Officer's Club. I figured we'd be ushered into a special room and kept away from the rank-and-file folks going about their business, but that wasn't the case. We used the same buffet line as everyone else and mingled with the Navy officers (mainly pilots) having lunch. My five-year-old son is nuts about the Jolly Rogers, and I was happy to see a table with three pilots from VFA-103. I tried to talk my son into going over and talking to them, but he was too shy. So, when I saw the pilots get up from their table I went over and asked them if they'd come over and talk to my son. They were more than glad to compy, and even allowed me to take their picture with my son. Super nice guys. After lunch we were allowed free access to Oceana's Aviation Heritage Park.

Our guide told me that our tour was the last of the season, and after we were dropped off back in downtown VA Beach I overheard him talking with a person manning the information kiosk that the tours would not be offered next year. I hope that is not true.

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