Photos and Story by MC3 Amber Porter
“I joined the military to travel, and so far I haven’t been disappointed,” said Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Blake Young, a Sailor assigned to the ‘Golden Eagles’ of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9. “I love being able to visit different countries and experience the culture, the food and the scenery.”
When overseas on deployment, Sailors are sometimes required to leave their duty stations for a period of time, called a detachment, in order to meet mission readiness. One such opportunity enabled Sailors to experience the country of Iceland.
“We spent a day on the Golden Circle, it’s this long drive that takes you through farmlands, an active geyser and at the end is a huge waterfall,” said Young. “The waterfall was one of the best parts, it was massive. Petting the horses was kind of cool too. I got wet from the geyser and I was freezing cold the rest of the trip so that was my only negative experience.”
Finding time to fit in a tour or drive to town requires a lot of coordination.
“We need to work 12-hour days because we have 24-hour operations and that splits the workload between two shifts,” explains Chief Aviation Electrician’s Mate Mark Everett. “On the days where we don’t have as much going on, we switch shifts with nights and they work 24 hours that day and we work 24 hours the next day. Its hard because it can mess with your sleep schedule but its worth it to be able to say you stood next to a waterfall or got soaked by an Icelandic Glacier.”
Young says that he thinks military members appreciate these trips and tours more than civilians because they work harder to go on them and it’s a reward that they may have been looking forward to for the past week.
“You see adults and teenagers sitting on the tour buses and you’re just thinking to yourself, ‘they have no idea how lucky they are to be able to vacation and take in the sights at leisure’,” said Young. “I like having to work for my tour ticket. It gives me a deeper sense of appreciation.”
For more information about Iceland’s Golden Tour, visit: https://www.re.is/day-tours/the-golden-circle
For more information about the Golden Eagles, visit: www.vp9.navy.mil