Serving at Sea: 'Gunner' ready to retire

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NORFOLK, Va. (WDBJ7) -- The United State Navy is equipped with 11 carrier ships.

Each is able to hold around 70 aircrafts at sea.

From planes, fighter jets to Helicopters.

Before heading out to sea, and with certified training, I took my first flight in a helicopter.

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I flew off Virginia's Coast and above the Atlantic in a Navy Sea Hawk.

The Sea Hawk is capable of handling missions like combat search and rescues, medical evacuations, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

Similar to the Army's Black Hawk, the Sea Hawk's biggest modification is their foldable wings - reducing their footprints onboard a carrier. "I give 'em warheads to put on foreheads, and make sure everything works properly,” said Stanley Powers, a CW04 a part of the helicopter squadron.

Powers is from Lee County.

He has served in the Navy for nearly 30 years. "I've been around the world probably three times. I started off in Oceana, Virginia, Jackson, Florida, Bruswick, Maine, USS George Washington, traveled to California, Okinawa, Japan,” he listed.

Nicknamed 'Gunner,' Powers works with sailors to make sure all helicopter weapons are assembled properly and ready to go. "Crew serve weapons, machine guns, hellfire missiles and unguided rockets,” Powers said. "All the big things, things that go 'boom.'"

But now, he's getting ready to retire; finishing up his final tour in Norfolk. "I have two children, they probably went to six different schools, so there are sacrifices."

A lot of sacrifices, now coming to an end as he prepares to pass on his duties to the next generation. Jess Coughtry/Gunner's mates: "So, this is an M2 40, this is a gas operated weapon,” explained Jess Coughtry, a helicopter squadron Ordnance Technician. "We'll set it up here like that and the crewmen will be able to move it however they want to and shoot."

Coughtry has served for just over four years.

And he's getting training from Powers to keep our country safe.

RELATED: Serving at Sea: Suiting up as a Sailor