Now That's a Ride: L.A.'s Haughton Drives Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier
Meet Navy Operations Specialist Seaman Anief Haughton, a Los Angeles native and 2011 graduate of Verbum Dei High School. Haughton is one of only four master helmsmen on the U.S.S. George Washington, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier operating from Yokusuka, Japan. Seaman Haughton--soon to be Petty Officer Third Class--has been deployed at sea since graduating from boot camp in 2011 and now actually steers the ship.
Seaman Haughton spoke to Breitbart News from the George Washington, which recently docked after missions in the western Pacific. He said he was motivated to become a master helmsman by the desire to distinguish himself.
As an operations specialist, he helps monitor the ship's radar systems. But as a master helmsman, he literally takes the wheel when the aircraft carrier carries out delicate maneuvers "in close quarters."
There literally is a steering wheel on a nuclear-powered carrier. "It’s not a big pirate ship looking-thing," he says. "It's a steering wheel." He warns, however: "It's a lot harder than driving a car, and there are a lot of factors that come into it."
In addition to mastering the techniques of movement, Houghton has to take weather conditions into account. "If it's calm, it's easy. But if the sea state is rough, and the winds are rough…".
U.S.S. George Washington, with Mt. Fuji in background. (U.S. Navy)
Haughton was born in Jamaica and came to the U.S. at an early age. He was encouraged to enlist by relatives who had also served in the U.S. armed forces. The Navy has given him direction in his life, he says.
As for life at sea, Haughton notes: "It's a challenging adjustment at first, but fine once you learn the routine of things. We see things most people never get to see--such as the ocean extending for miles. It's a pretty breathtaking sight."
While he's steering the George Washington on this Memorial Day, Seaman Haughton has two other helmsmen to thank:
"I d like to thank my mom and my dad, they really guided me. I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself, and they steered me to the right path.”