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Word Count: 777
When approaching the astoundingly huge floating metal structure its extremely hard to grasp the immense power and capabilities it holds The bleak grey naval fighting ship the USS Valley Forge CG-50 is an amazing sight to be seen in the harbor of San Diego At 2513 tons of dead weight and a displacement of 9909 tons the Valley Forge is one of the largest cruisers in the world today A ship of multiple purposes and endless uses make this ship irreplaceable to the Naval fleet Ive seen it used for war protection drug operations and many other tasks but to me this was home Working on this colossal vessel is an experience few Americans can relate to unless theyve been in the US Navy Coming back to this Titanic-like vessel from the last seemingly short night of liberty before a long trip out to sea can be one of dread and anxiety Its been about a week since weve finished the long practice runs and tedious training of the new recruits for the many treacherous months to come Few are looking forward to the grueling trip but most everyone is prepared Its 430 in the morning now and its time to begin the final checks to make sure we get safely underway As I enter the cold dark operations room I have to stand for a minute to let my eyes adjust to the change of light I walk swiftly over to a radar station and start powering up I then dart from one station to the next flicking on and checking each of the thirteen stations that Im in charge of When I finish up with the last station I crawl in behind it to a cramped shadowed space to turn on the valve that allows the ice cold water to run through the pipes intertwining with the electric chords to keep them cool As I touch the freezing cold valve I wince at
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