The Floating Lions
Our just-published Nov/Dec issue includes a feature on life aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with more than a dozen Penn State alumni among the crew. When reached by phone over the summer, a few members of the Roosevelt (most of whom are pictured to the right) shared stories of life at sea, the camaraderie among the group of alums and how to keep busy when you’re stationed in the middle of the ocean.
Says Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles Kuhns ’12:
“You go outside and you see blue and you see the same blue that you saw three months ago and then you see the same blue that you’re going to see two months from now. You kind of accept it.”
The group is led by Capt. Craig Clapperton ’89, the commander of the carrier, and Capt. Fred Pyle ’90, the commodore of the carrier strike group. The two have known each other since their days at Penn State as ROTC classmates. Clapperton took command in July, about a year after Pyle arrived aboard the ship.
“I knew right away what the situation was. Our staterooms initially were right next to each other here on the ship and we were already planning out Penn State football games and making sure that those were the only games that we showed on TV on the ship.”
It’s easy to follow the experiences of the Roosevelt and its crew – the ship’s public affairs office maintains a robust presence on Facebook and Twitter, and also publishes a blog that includes an electronic version of the crew’s newspaper distributed on board three times a week.
B.J. Reyes, associate editor