Craig couple views Navy operations at work during Tiger Cruise | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig couple views Navy operations at work during Tiger Cruise

Military program provides families with clear picture of time at sea

It's not often that being in Hawaii is the less exciting part of your travel itinerary, but for Walker and Gayle Criswell, that's because something bigger was in store upon departing from the Aloha State.

The Criswells got the experience of a lifetime in mid-November when they embarked on a Tiger Cruise from Hawaii to San Diego that let them view the staff of the U.S. NavyU.S. Navy hard at work. The vessel that they were on was the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which, after docking at Pearl Harbor Nov. 15, set out for a weeklong excursion to the California port. hard at work. The vessel that they were on was the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which, after docking at Pearl Harbor Nov. 15, set out for a weeklong excursion to the California port.

U.S. Navy hard at work. The vessel that they were on was the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which, after docking at Pearl Harbor Nov. 15, set out for a weeklong excursion to the California port.

Being aboard the aircraft carrier — nicknamed "The Big Stick" in reference to the 26th president's most famous quote — was unforgettable, Walker said.

"It's a Nimitz-class carrier, one of the biggest ships in the world," he said. "A lot of fun."

The purpose of a Tiger CruiseTiger Cruise is to allow family members of those currently serving in the military to see what their loved ones contribute to the Navy. For the Criswells, the serviceman in question was their son, Colt, a machinist mate apprentice, who enlisted in March this year. is to allow family members of those currently serving in the military to see what their loved ones contribute to the Navy. For the Criswells, the serviceman in question was their son, Colt, a machinist mate apprentice, who enlisted in March this year.

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Tiger Cruise is to allow family members of those currently serving in the military to see what their loved ones contribute to the Navy. For the Criswells, the serviceman in question was their son, Colt, a machinist mate apprentice, who enlisted in March this year.

Colt, 25, was put to work on the Roosevelt right out of boot camp, boarding during its time in Bahrain this summer.

Having worked at Trapper Mine, the young man said he was well prepared for the kind of tasks a machinist might have to face on a daily basis, including hydraulics, elevators and the ship's anchor.

His motivation for joining up was to get out and see the world, signing on for the next four years.

"I love getting to travel and see new places," Colt said. "I've learned a lot of new things."

In the last several months, the carrier visited ports in Dubai and Singaporethe carrier visited ports in Dubai and Singapore, traversing the waters of the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea, among other locations on its journey., traversing the waters of the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea, among other locations on its journey.

the carrier visited ports in Dubai and Singapore, traversing the waters of the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea, among other locations on its journey.

The time on the water was full of activities, as civilian passengers met Navy personnel, observed the countless sections of the ship from the bridge to the mess hall to the flight deck and even got to watch an aerial spectacular in the skies above them.

"The one place we couldn't visit was the reactor, that was a big no-no," Walker said.

Those on the Tiger Cruise had a booklet full of departments and spots on the ship, which served as somewhat of a scavenger hunt to seek out all there was to see and get the full picture of life on the ship.

"That book took me to a lot of places I never would have thought of," he said. "I just had a blast doing that. If you filled out the book (with Navy signatures), you got a little pin, and I wanted that pretty badly."

Colt also introduced his parents to plenty of high-ranking officials.

"I'm just glad they got the chance to enjoy themselves and see what we do," he said.

Walker said the time spent on the Theodore Roosevelt provided a hugely positive view of the military, though that was already how he viewed the work done by the armed forces. The conditions for sailors in particular can be daunting, he added.

"Those guys have it tough," he said. "They said in the Arabian Gulf, the heat index for the flight deck can be 150 degrees."

The Tiger Cruise also left Walker a little regretful he didn't serve when he had the chance.

"That was the closest I've ever come, but I'm so proud of my son for being part of that," he said. "We're all proud of him."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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