SEATTLE (NNS) -- A group of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) aerographer's mates got a behind-the-scenes look at television news recently, helping them see how the skills of their rating are performed by professionals in the big city.
Nine of Carl Vinson's meteorological and oceanographic experts spent a morning learning how the station produces weather broadcasts and checking out the equipment and technology of Seattle CBS affiliate KIRO 7's weather center.
Rob Mayeda, weather anchor and escort of the group, explained that the station has an open-door policy in support of education, but that the Vinson Sailors were an especially enjoyable and involved tour group because of their genuine interest in the station and the equipment used in weather forecasting.
"It was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes and see how small the newsroom was as compared to how it looks on TV," Aerographer's Mate 1st Class (AW/SW) Todd Cunningham said. "I had the impression they just walked in and did the broadcast, but they actually have to monitor flood-prone and fire-prone areas, put together a forecast, and determine how the weather will affect schools, people and jobs."
Similarly, Cunningham said aerographer's mates also take into account how the weather might affect the ship's mission, using comparable research and many tools like charts.
"It was interesting to see the equipment and Internet sites he uses," Aerographer's Mate 3rd Class (AW) Vanessa Medalla, who organized the group's visit to KIRO 7, said.
She contacted Mayeda because she was curious to know what his job actually entailed and how he became a successful weather broadcaster.
Carl Vinson's aerographer's mates are part of a 103-percent-manned rating, experiencing limited advancement beyond E-4. With such a tough climb up the ranking ladder, these Sailors benefit from an awareness of their marketability in the civilian sector, especially in diverse weather areas like Seattle.
"I think everyone realized it's a lot harder than they thought out there," said Cunningham, who hopes Mayeda's emphasis on the competitiveness of weather broadcasting might influence Sailors to reenlist. "If they stay in the Navy, there's an opportunity not just to get college, but also the job experience everyone's looking for. Being an AG in the Navy, you can say you've had four or more years experience, not just some internship."
Currently taking online courses in pursuit of a degree in Atmospheric Science, Medalla believes the tour helped show her shipmates the job fields to which their experience in the Navy can eventually lead.
"It really puts into perspective how far our job and a degree can take us," she said.
For more news about USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit their custom Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70.