YOKOSUKA, Japan- A Prince Frederick, Maryland, native and 2012 Calvert High School is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
Macknight is a maintenance program coordinator for the command as well as the program coordinator for the force, which includes eight destroyers.
Macknight is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of Prince Frederick.
“I’ve learned how to respect people from different backgrounds than me,” said Macknight. “Everyone here on the ship has different personality traits and you have to learn to how to treat and work with people who are different than you.”
Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world ready at all times to defend America’s interests. With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
Named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan, 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.
“There is a lot of pressure being deployed here because of the attention that is on us,” said Macknight. “Sometimes I miss my family but there are rewarding benefits of being stationed here, like living in Japan and experiencing this culture.”
Macknight is also proud of when he received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal from the admiral for his work on the ship’s air traffic control antenna equipment. When the ship’s company enjoyed having time off in a foreign port, he and a number of other sailors stayed on the ship and fixed the antenna. Being recognized and appreciated for his efforts motivates him to keep working hard.
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.
Ronald Reagan, 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.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Macknight and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Since joining the Navy, I have learned something new every day,” said Macknight. “I’m learning leadership skills that I can use in the future.”
Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. Seventh Fleet’s area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the 7th Fleet.
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Robert Zahn, Navy Office of Community Outreach