Visiting USS Germantown

(March 4, 2011)

Last Saturday was not a typical day for us, the students and teachers of Raudlatul Jannah Junior High School. It was quite special since we got an invitation to visit an American warship. No, we didn’t take a flight to America. It anchored in our very own seaport, Tanjung Perak Surabaya.

The warship, or named USS Germantown, instantly became a famous visit spot on that weekend. It was a warship completed with missiles and fire guns. However, nowadays it is used for humanitarian mission. The ship itself was very huge. From a distance, we thought it was a tall skyscraper. But then, we realized that the ‘skyscraper’ was just a part of the giant ship. It wowed us from beginning.

When we arrived, there were many other students from different schools and also visitors lining up to be able to enter the ship. We experienced many new things there. To enter the ship, we had to go through several security checks by US marines. The students seemed both nervous and also excited. They seemed didn’t breathe when the officer scanned them using detector.

We were arranged in a line by Officer Gilligan right after the scanning part. Officer Gilligan was very nice. He greeted us and asked some questions about us. He gave us briefing about visiting the ship, what are allowed or not. Then, we climbed stairs to the ship. Officer Gilligan took us to the deck to meet Officer Pratiksha Patel. She was our guide to browse the ship. Officer Patel took us to every part of it. She explained how to operate the devices and machines. It was a very hot day, even for us who get used to to the climate. Officer Patel seemed tired and said that it was very hot, but she professionally had done her job wonderfully.

In the ship, there were so many rooms with different functions. They were new for us and we got excited about them. In the control room, we could see many buttons and steering wheels. But it was hardly restricted for us to touch them. One of our favorite room was the café. It was a place for all of the marines and navy seals have their meals. The café is one of the busiest place. It has to serve the meals for around 700 crews everyday.

Since it was a war ship, on the top of the ship, there were missiles and fire guns. Though they were empty, we were not allowed to push any button or operate them. It was pretty amazing to be there. We could see Suramadu bridge and the monument of Jalesveva Jayamahe from the distance. It was so beautiful.

After around two hours, we ended our visit.  It was a very exciting experience. Though we were amazed by all the facilities and crews of the ship, we are also proud of our own navy that we believe has the best skills. Jalesveva Jayamahe!

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