Early Saturday morning, February 3, Patriots Cheerleaders Alyssa Caddle, Meghan White, Meghan Vasconcellos, Brittany Medeiros, Andrea Lindholdm and squad director, Tracy Sormanti, met at Logan airport. Though disappointed that they weren't headed to Miami for the Super Bowl, they were very excited to be traveling to a ship out at sea to perform for sailors onboard the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman!
Upon being picked up at the airport from their commercial flight, the cheerleaders were taken to a navy base in the states to be quickly suited up in headgear, earplugs, goggles and life vests, and loaded onto a COD aircraft for travel to the ship.
After approximately an hour in the air, the cheerleaders were advised it was time to land. With no windows on the aircraft, we had to watch the cues of the naval aviator in the front of the plane so we were ready for an "abrubt" stop. The tailhook landing takes a plane that is traveling about 150 miles per hour to a complete stop in just three seconds; a roller coaster ride to say the least!
Once the cheerleaders deboarded the plane, they were greeted by hundreds of sailors on the flight deck of the massive ship. After an introduction to the Commanding Officer, Airwing Commander, Executive Officer, Command Master Chief and countless others, the cheerleaders immediately began touring the ship, meeting and greeting sailors and learning about their job accountabilities.
We learned lots of navy terms along the way; the ceilings are overheads, the walls are bulkheads, the floors are decks, the doors are hatches, with lots of "knee knockers". From waterline to mast, the ship is 20 stories high, and over 1,000 feet long; as long as the Empire State building is tall! In between visiting sailors at their workstations throughout the ship, we also dined in the mess decks, giving us an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the sailors. We finished our visits at 11:30 pm Saturday night, and hit our racks for a good night's sleep.
Up at 6:00 am Sunday morning, we hit the decks running again. We watched flight ops on the deck, and even got to participate as "shooters", learning the hand signals to send planes off via a Cat shot! Soon, it was show time. Thousands of sailors sat in the bleachers, cheering for the ladies as they performed a pregame show. During the game, the cheerleaders signed autographs and posed for pictures for hours with the sailors. After the game, we found more time and energy for some more visits. We ended our day around 12:30 am.
6:00 am came quickly Monday morning. We said goodbye to our new friends, listened carefully to the safety briefing and instructions for our Cat take off. We boarded the plane, watched for the cues, and suddenly our plane was shot off the carrier, traveling 130 miles per hour in just 2 seconds!
We made it home safely, and sad that such an exciting three days had come to a close. We'd like to thank the officers and crew onboard the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman for making our Super Bowl Sunday one we will long remember!