Manning the Rails

Simply put – Pearl Harbor is a must! Visiting Pearl Harbor is always special…not just because of the historical significance of the events that occurred here in the 1940′s but because it is an active military base and you never know who you might meet or what you might see!

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Case in point: last week. Last week, I could not believe my eyes! I was doing some training at Pearl Harbor and was studying the USS Missouri. The USS Missouri is an 887 foot battleship, most famously known for being the location of the official surrender of Japan ending World War II. I happened to be in the control room when I looked outside the window and saw something I will never forget. The USS Carl Vinson pulling into port.

The USS Carl Vinson, an American supercarrier commissioned in 1982, was coming back from a very long deployment (nine and a half months) to the Western Pacific (they supported strike operations in Iraq and Syria and successfully flew 12,300 sorties, including 2,382 combat missions). They were coming to Hawaii for a few days to prepare for a Tiger cruise. A Tiger cruise is a special occasion for friends and family where the crew of the USS Carl Vinson run special ship tours, gun shoots and put on a sea power demonstration. 1200 “Tigers” will have the honor of traveling from Oahu back to San Diego with 6,000 of the Navy’s finest.

What made this such a memorable moment, one that I will never forget, is that all 6,000 sailors, in crisp, white uniforms, lined the deck. They stood in unison as the USS Carl Vinson pulled into Pearl Harbor, passing by me on the USS Missouri and by the USS Arizona Memorial. It is called “manning the rails”. It’s a method of saluting, dating back hundreds of years…the crew is evenly stationed along the rails when honors are rendered and it is a spectacular sight! I had only seen it in movies and now it was happening in real life! I couldn’t have been more proud of our country’s military or impressed…

It reminds me of the time I got to sit in the actual fighter jet that Tom Cruise used in the movie, Top Gun. But that is another story…

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