I know very few people in the military. My father was in the Army but never spoke of it. Living in Chicago I know very little about the military. If it comes up in conversation it is spoken about politically, not as human beings or Americans protecting our freedom. On this trip I wanted to explore and educate myself and the kids about the military.

As I am writing this post we have moved into Florida. It is hard to have a conversion with 5 or more people and not have one of them in, or a relative in, the military.  It is a common conversation at a very personal level. I am thankful for those conversations, I have learned a lot and heard how it has affected people’s lives. I have been able to ask questions and haveChesapeake Bay,
been educated on the subject. I am thankful for the chats.

When we got to Chesapeake Bay, VA I wanted to take some time and get to Norfolk.  They had just commissioned the USS Ford Aircraft Carrier the first new aircraft carrier in a long time.  I was hoping it was still docked and we would be able to see it. So I took the girls down for a Naval tour.

We arrived early for the tour so we stopped at the Nauticus, a maritime-themed science center. It showcases global maritime commerce and the worlds largest navy. Over half of the museum is free and has fantastic information about many facets of the import and exports of goods in the US and around the world. It also has the USS Wisconsin.  A Battleship recently decommissioned and now a museum piece. We didn’t have time for the USS Wisconsin and we had just toured the USS Cassin Young .  It was also part of the paid admission.  But we enjoyed the museum.

The Nautica Museum. Curtesy of Google.
The Nauticus Museum. Curtesy of Google.

 
The USS Wisconsin
The USS Wisconsin

 
Wow that is a big boat.
Wow that is a big boat.

 
This is inside the museum. It is the replica of a cargo ship.
This is inside the museum. It is a replica of a cargo ship.

 
Peddle faster
Peddle faster

 

We finished up at the museum and headed over to the Naval tour. I really don’t know what I was expecting but the Navy tour was rather disappointing. About 30 of us were loaded onto a bus. We were raced through the base told some bad jokes. Finally we got to the cool stuff, and in full agreement with policy, we were not allow to take pictures of the active ships.  Not because of any technology that might be leaked but because it may cause a danger to the security guards on duty.  Good. Unfortunately we were driven by at 30-40mph. It reminded me of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks Championship Parade, I waited 2 hours for it to start and they raced by in 30 seconds, ugh. I would not recommend this tour.

Plane on the tour
A plane on the tour.

 

I got these shots while I was stuck in traffic headed home.
I got these shots while I was stuck in traffic headed home. These are the ship I was hoping to get a look at on the tour. I got a better look from the highway.

 

So because the tour was so short we had some time to stop at the Langley NASA Air and Space Museum, now that was cool. I would even argue it was better than the Smithsonian.