A couple of months ago, an e-mail arrived in my inbox with news of an exciting opportunity for bloggers: Join the Navy on a deployment to Latin America to experience life at sea and to watch a humanitarian mission firsthand.
The invitation was targeted at military bloggers, which I am not. Worse, I know next to nothing about the military. In all of my 17-plus years of journalism, I have never covered defense matters in more than a superficial manner, and even then my focus was on policy, not practice.
But I couldn’t let the chance to spend a few days at sea pass without trying to get an invite. Plus my duties as the executive producer of Eyeblast.tv include outreach to bloggers, both to upload their own videos to our site and to embed Eyeblast videos in their blogs. The military is one of the favorite subjects of our conservative audience.
My pitch worked. I joined three other bloggers aboard the USS Kearsarge in Norfolk, Va., today. Two more will come aboard in the morning before we deploy.
We are a tiny part of a contingent that includes more than 1,100 sailors, as well as representatives from the Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Public Health Service. Other nations, including Canada and Brazil, also are represented. Project Hope, a medical mission, and Operation Smile, a children’s medical charity based in Norfolk, are among the non-governmental organizations involved in the mission.
The first stop is Nicaragua sometime next week. I’ll have to leave the ship before then, but that’s OK because I’ll get to fly off in a helicopter. I’ve never done that before and probably never will get the chance to do it again, especially in a Navy helo.
In theory, we’ll be blogging from the ship, but that assumes we can get Internet access. (As of this writing offline in Microsoft Word, we haven’t.) I’ll also be taking pictures and shooting footage for Eyeblast.tv.
In keeping with the “Porkbusters On Patrol” project Eyeblast launched with the Porkbusters coalition several days ago, I’ll be distributing Flip video cameras to other bloggers on the trip who agree to post their footage at Eyeblast. That will ensure coverage of Operation Continuing Promise even after I’m off the ship.
One Flip-equipped blogger plans to provide footage for Eyeblast well into the fall on the last leg of the Kearsarge’s mission. You can follow all of us on the journey through this blog and at the forthcoming Operation Continuing Promise channel at Eyeblast.
[Originally published at Eyeblast.tv]
Filed under: Blogging and Media and Operation Continuing Promise and Photography and Travel