- Just thought I'd send an update from life today on Reagan.
Some of you have seen of this and some haven't. It's been quite a week.
Many challenging times, avoiding radioactive plumes and contamination in
the environment both air and water. Sailors here are happy to help in such
a trifold disaster but its also been pretty scary at times for us too.
I think all the rad we've seen is safe low levels but we do hear of high
levels now and again.
- Since we are a nuclear carrier we have all the requisite
devices to measure radiation in the environment and keep the ship safe,
however, not sure the chain of command ever considered having to use these
devices in a situation quite like this. Literally, our chain of command
was the resident experts on things nuclear until task forces started to
get set up and organized.
- We had a rough time trying to figure out where to go
at first but have nestled into an area north of Sendai that saw much damage
and is also a safe distance from the reactors at Fukishima.
- We found a bunch of people at first, ~ 10-20 landing
zones, then the past few days were quieter and today we found Japanese
that needed rescued again.
- The helos and airplanes go out and look at the country
looking for people with cameras and stuff. Japanese are really smart at
disaster prepardness. The displaced people that need help write sos on
the ground in big fields or drop lots of stones on the ground in an helo
pad shape or spell out S O S .
- Then the helos know there are people nearby that need
help so they land and look and bring back supplies. Lots and lots of japanese
have been helped in this way. I'm guessing they are without power but yet
they inherently know to do this.
- When the helos land on the ground the japanese come out
and stand in a perfect line and help the helo guys unload all the goodies
out of the helo in an assembly line as fast as possible. They have been
ever so respectful, patient and humble. They are such an amazing people.
Even in this horrible time, they maintain such respectability.
- My friend who is a helo pilot told me tonight that as
they were taking off after unloading supplies, a man got down on his knees
and prayed to the helo guys (like a buddhist praying motion). Other japanese
have all waved, clapped, and given many types of thanks to our helo squadrons.
- I saw pictures tonight from the helo's and airplanes.
The pictures are amazing. I've never been to japan but its so beautiful,
the mountain sides are breathtaking and the ocean on the northeast coast
is SO BLUE! There is a lot of destruction in the pictures. Towns just wiped
out and houses remaining where the water stopped. I also heard the japanese
had a lot of water walls to help protect them from tsunamis and this helped
in many locations but not all of course. I haven't had much time to watch
the news and all we get is cnn so these pictures today were unique to me.
- Today at sea I saw A LOT of trees in the ocean. It looked
like a lumber yard, logs and trees everywhere. Many trees have the root
- I swear, I'd bet money that chunks of land lifted up
from the seaside with the trees attached because some of the trees stick
straight up and down out of the water as if they are solid in ground (but
the water depth is 1000-2000' in those spots. The ocean is littered with
connex boxes, I've seen soooo much debris out here, I wish we could have
blown some of it up so that at least they weren't hazards to navigation.
- There is media from the NYTimes here today so maybe there
will be more news about us coming.
- The guys on the flight deck have been working so hard,
its really cold outside, they have to wear overboots over their boots to
protect from contamination and they return back into the skin of the ship
through the foc'sle which is now a decontamination station. I've heard
that line lasts an hour to get through.
- If your clothes or boots are too high then they take
them from you and issue you new stuff. Fibers and clothes hold radiation
moreso then hard surfaces and so I think some things like halyards and
lines may have to be thrown away. Our 'lookouts' have been inside the pilothouse
almost this entire time now and believe the island structure has some contamination
on it. My forecasters stopped launching weather balloons but the smoke
pit is still open on the fantail.
- My team has been working so hard and sleeping so little
and giving everything they've got. The forecasts for the helos are paramount
and CAG is definitely concerned for his guys. The captain has told us repeatedly
to keep him abreast of the winds and call him anytime when we will be 'downwind'
from the reactors. There are people making 'plumes' models of the air and
sea, some are good, some are great, and some are not. Its all very complicated.
And the jets, well, they haven't really been flying so who knows what will
happen with them.
- When this is all over I intend to travel back here and
find a place in the country that is clean and safe to be and enjoy everything
this beautiful country has to offer.
- Yesterday everyone dontated supplies from their personal
stashes. I'm hoping we do that again.
- All for now, sorry if this email is kind of choppy just
wanted to pass along the latest.