USS MASON, At Sea (NNS) -- During a visit to USS Mason (DDG 87) Feb. 4-8, two USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) crew members were able to take in the sights and sounds of life aboard a guided-missile destroyer while receiving some valuable training on the advanced enemy detection system aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
Cryptological Technician 3rd Class (SW/AW) David Vanhouse and Cryptological Technician Seaman (SW) Patrick Batenhorst got a unique opportunity to train on Mason's countermeasures systems, which can protect the ship if it is attacked by an airborne weapon.
"Some things we have here, we don't do on a carrier," explained Mason's Cryptological Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Sarah Williams.
Williams, Truman alumnus herself, trained Vanhouse and Batenhorst in order to give them an opportunity to learn more about their rating in a hands-on environment.
"It's comforting having Williams here," said Batenhorst, "because we've already worked with her on Truman."
Williams said that while most of the training is on paper rather than hands-on at this stage, she hopes to have the two trainees join the ship again on the way back to homeport. For now, they get to see how things work on a much different platform than they are used to.
"This gives them an opportunity to see how the other half lives," said Williams.
"The whole experience has been nothing like I'd ever imagined," said Batenhorst. "Seeing how everything is run here, I thought 'this is how a surface ship should be.' For me, it helps me relate to other ships and shows me another place to go."
Batenhorst said that his career outlook has changed tremendously now that he sees there are other platforms than the large afloat, or "floating city" environment aboard Truman.
In Williams' opinion, Vanhouse and Batenhorst are well suited for this lucky experience.
"They are very qualified, excellent representatives of Truman," Williams said. "And since they're junior, this gives them some broader exposure."
While aboard, Vanhouse and Batenhorst have received a chance to squeeze into a much tighter physical environment while partaking in some of the crew's events. While both said they did not pipe up and sing, they were welcomed to attend karaoke sponsored by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee.
Destroyer life also presented the chance for fishing call - a nonentity on an aircraft carrier - as well as a Sunday morning skeet-shooting event hosted by the ship's gunner's mates and attended by even the commanding officer.
"It was pretty fun," said Vanhouse. "I shot nine out of 10 the first time - the first time I've ever shot a shotgun."
Seeing that there are indeed other fish in the sea besides the large-decked leviathan they call home, Vanhouse and Batenhorst return to Truman with a broader scope into the surface warfare community and their own options for the future, as well as some valuable training to enhance their interface with smaller platforms here at home.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.