By Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Omar Diaz
NORFOLK, Va. – A Weymouth, Massachusetts, native and 2017 Weymouth High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.
Seaman Benjamin MacDonald is serving aboard the carrier operating out of the Navy’s largest base.
As a seaman, MacDonald is responsible for standard shipboard evolutions.
“I like the family atmosphere aboard the ship,” said Macdonald.
Named in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet. The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 252 feet wide. Two nuclear reactors can push the ship through the water at more than 35 mph.
Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft.
As a sailor with numerous responsibilities, MacDonald learns about life at sea serving in the Navy and the importance of taking personal responsibility while leading others while still using lessons learned from their hometown.
“My hometown taught me that if you don’t succeed your first time, always keep trying,” said MacDonald. “It helps me because I haven’t been in the Navy long and my dad always tells me he doesn’t care what I do as long as I do my best.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard the carrier. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 men and women form the air wing responsible for flying and maintaining more than 70 aircraft aboard the ship.
George H.W. Bush, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.
All of this makes the George H.W. Bush a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, and often the first response to a global crisis because of a carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.
“I got a shout-out from the commanding officer during captain’s call for focusing on my work which I’m very proud of,” said MacDonald.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, MacDonald and other George H.W. Bush sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“The Navy has made me stronger,” added MacDonald. “It’s shown me that some people can be hard to work with but you have to learn to work together.”