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11 photo galleries highlight FOX8 trip to an aircraft carrier to experience life in the Navy

NORFOLK, Va. -- The United States Navy protects American interests in waterways around the world. But do you really know what the Navy does and how they do it? Recently the U.S. Navy invited a group of media from Tribune Broadcasting, the parent company of WGHP FOX8, to spend a day aboard the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN69), a nuclear-powered, Nimitz Class aircraft carrier that is part of the Atlantic Fleet based out of Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.

FOX8 Senior Reporter Bob Buckley and Photojournalist Chris Weaver traveled to Norfolk for the "Sailor for a Day" program to take a look at what life in the Navy is all about. They spent nearly a week touring the Norfolk Naval Station, flying 100 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, landing on the aircraft carrier and exploring life aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower for 24 hours.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is a floating city powered by two nuclear reactors. It's almost 1,100 feet long and 250 feet wide and can accommodate a crew of more than 6,000 people.

Bob and Chris came back with a new understanding of the US Navy; the ups and downs, personal stories from sailors and why they joined, why they're staying in or why they may not make it a 20-year career.

They gathered hundreds of pictures -- see the 11 photo galleries below -- and hours of video from F-18 fighter jets roaring off the end of the flight deck to the operations throughout the ship to keep it running 24/7.

NORFOLK -  Here are some sights around Norfolk before they flew out to the ship.

UNIFORMS - As part of the Navy’s Distinguished Visitor Program, FOX8's Bob Buckley got to try on several of the Navy’s uniforms.

F-35 - It’s the newest military jet in the United States, the F-35. The Air Force, Marines and Navy will all fly their own customized version of the 6th generation fighter jet. FOX8's Bob Buckley and Chris Weaver got a chance to fly the Lockheed Martin simulator of the Navy F-35C, including landing on an Aircraft Carrier.

FLIGHT TO AND FROM - As part of their trip to visit with the Navy in the Distinguished Visitor program, FOX8's Bob Buckley and Photojournalist Chris Weaver flew in the Navy’s C-2 Greyhound. The plane is referred to as the COD, which means Carrier Onboard Deliver. It’s how the Navy gets people and supplies to and from the Aircraft Carrier.

FLIGHT DECK - As part of the Navy’s Distinguished Visitor program, FOX8's Bob Buckley and Photojournalist Chris Weaver were invited to fly out to the Navy’s Aircraft Carrier CVN-69, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bob and Chris were escorted all over the ship and allowed to document a day in the life of a US Navy Sailor. One of the most visual and cool parts of the aircraft carrier is, of course, the flight deck.

DAMIAN - Airman Damian Ransom from Robeson County, NC talks with Bob Buckley about Ransom's job on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ransom is an Aircraft Handler and is responsible for tracking the movement and storage of all the planes and helicopters on the flight deck and the hanger deck.

SARA - Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Spencer from Concord, N.C., talks with FOX8's Bob Buckley and Photojournalist Chris Weaver about her job on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

FANTAIL - A view from the fantail of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, the very back of the ship, several deck levels below the flight deck.

HANGAR DECK - The hangar deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower sits just below the flight deck and is where all of the aircraft maintenance takes place. It is a crowded area that moves at a very fast pace to make sure all the aircraft are airworthy and ready to go when needed.

LIFE - Life aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is about tight spaces and hard work. Here are some other areas of the ship that FOX8's Bob Buckley and Chris Weaver saw as they worked gathering photos and video.