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Where Can You Work an Average of 12 Hours a Day, 6-7 Days a Week, and Receive No Overtime Pay?

Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6:33 am

The U.S. Navy!  HEC’s General Counsel, Sheri-Ann Lau Clark, learned this lesson on her recent visit to the USS Carl Vinson.  While passing Hawaii on its voyage from Japan to California, the USS Carl Vinson hosted Sheri and twelve other “Distinguished Visitors” (DVs) from Hawaii on an overnight stay on April 2-3, 2018. 

            What is the USS Carl Vinson?

The USS Carl Vinson is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier with approximately 5,000 people on board.  The ship is 1,092 feet long and 252 wide.  It is like a mini city, staffed not only with sailors and pilots, but also with a team of aviation mechanics, cooks, dentists, doctors, nurses, and even lawyers.  And, like any city, it even has its own jail.

Like any successful organization, everyone on the ship understands how his or her work contributes to the ship’s singular mission of supporting flight operations.  To meet that mission, each department is further guided by its own mission statement.  For instance, the Growler[1] flight unit team’s mission is to “Support strike aircraft and ground forces by denying, delaying, and degrading the enemy’s use of the electromagnetic spectrum and obtaining tactical electronic intelligence.”

All staff work long hours to accomplish their mission during deployment, logging an average of 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, without any expectation of overtime pay.  While 12-hour days are the average, it is not unusual to clock in 16 hours to complete a day’s work.

How does this small city stay afloat with such rigorous demands?  Teamwork, excellent communication, and strong leaders who create a positive work culture and develop the necessary talent are all key factors.


Thank you to the crew serving on the USS Carl Vinson for hosting the DV tour and for their service in the military.  Appreciation goes not only to the sailors but also to their families while they work at sea to serve our country. 

Special thanks to Navy’s Public Affairs Office for coordinating the tour and giving civilian DVs a short glimpse into life in the Navy.  And what a glimpse it was.  While travel to and from the USS Carl Vinson was just ‘another day at the office’ for Navy pilots, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the DVs.  They were flown on and off the aircraft carrier via a C-2A Greyhound, also known as “COD” for Carrier Onboard Delivery.  Upon arrival, they experienced an arrested landing on the ship, with an arresting cable stopping the plane at full throttle, going from 105 to 0 miles per hour in two seconds.  They learned that a plane lands on an aircraft carrier at full throttle just in case it misses one of the four cables and needs to bolter, go around, and re-attempt the landing.  At the end of their stay, the DVs were transported off the ship on the COD with a catapult launch.  This time, the aircraft catapult helped to accelerate the plane from 0 to 128 miles per hour in three seconds. 

[1] The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet.  


Sailor from Kauai discussing the arresting cable.

Pilot briefing DVs about the Growler.

Pilot briefing DVs about the Growler.

Open air cardio room on the ship.

View from the Primary Flight Control.

The “Air Boss” is responsible for all aspects of flight operations on the ship.

The “Mini Boss” assists the “Air Boss” in directing all aircraft activity on the flight deck.

On the Navigation Deck aka “The Bridge.”

A dentist chair on the ship.  The dental department includes dentists and an oral surgeon.

A dining area for naval officers, also known as the wardroom.

A suite on the ship with a 3-bed bunk bed.  (The 2018 NCAA final game between Michigan and Villanova was playing on the TV.)

Convenience store on the ship.

Inside the COD.

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