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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Dubai a special place to visit, say crew of US aircraft carrier 

Dubai offers a welcome break for those on board USS Theodore Roosevelt

The 5,000 crew on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt has to find ways to keep themselves entertained during their down time. Satish Kumar for The National
The 5,000 crew on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt has to find ways to keep themselves entertained during their down time. Satish Kumar for The National

Life on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt can be challenging for the 5,000 crew who typically spend up to five months at sea.

Although the 97,000-tonne vessel has all the modern conveniences you would expect to help keep a modern fighting force sane at sea, nothing quite beats the comforts of home.

Several fully equipped gyms are available around the clock, with kitchens serving up 18,150 meals, 23 hours a day.

Talent shows and sporting contests are the more traditional forms of navy entertainment, while reliable internet access allows crew to keep in touch with loved ones at home.

Third class petty officer Victoria Foley, from Napa in California, joined the navy three years ago, and is one of 969 women who make up the ship’s crew.

“My day starts around 6am, when I’ll go and grab some coffee and breakfast,” said the 23-year-old.

“I’ll check the internet and my emails before I start work.

“I’ll have an early morning muster, a face to face with my superiors to find out what my particular routine will be for that day, or any new information on the operation we need to be made aware of.

“My role is mass communication specialist so I’ll be taking photos, and writing or helping put together the on board magazine.

“I’ll typically burn through four to five books in a couple of weeks to pass the time as it can get quite boring.

“I’m studying as well, learning about the ship we are on and the different jobs on board.”

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Ms Foley is working towards an enlisted service warfare specialist qualification; it could take weeks or months depending on how long she has to work on it in between her daily duties.

She works out for about an hour a day in the ship’s gym, and said payphones and internet access makes life at sea more bearable with a connection to home.

“Out of all the places we’ve been to in the region, Dubai really stands out as a special place to visit,” she said.

“The culture and the buildings like the Burj Khalifa are beautiful. It’s definitely somewhere we look forward to visiting.”