Dr Price USS Theodore



Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Montemarano 

Naval Station Great Lakes Public Affairs  

GREAT LAKES, Ill. – It is not often one is able to see first-hand the effect that their time with someone has caused but, unexpectedly, that is just what happened to Dr. John P. Price earlier this summer. As the superintendent for North Chicago District 187, Price had the unique opportunity to visit the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) on June 5, 2023 in San Diego, as a part of the US Navy Distinguished Visitor Program. As a Distinguished Visitor, Price experienced a first-hand look at what life aboard an aircraft carrier is really like.

Price remarked “I am not sure who nominated me for the program, but I am very grateful for the opportunity and thankful to the person/s who did…”.

The Roosevelt and her embarked Carrier Air Wing aircraft serve as outstanding instruments of peace. Anytime and anywhere TR reports for duty, she brings 4.5 acres of sovereign U.S. territory and 97,000 tons of diplomacy. With a crew of 5,500 Sailors, the ship is similar to a floating city, including an ATM, laundry facilities, a post office, shopping facilities, and even a barber shop.

Price spent 24 hours aboard the Roosevelt and was able to experience multiple locations within the ship – including navigation, flight and air control, deck control, and was even able to be on the deck to observe flight operations up close. But the experience didn’t stop there, he received a complete overview of the ship’s operations including aircraft maintenance and repair, ordinance preparation, and maintenance and operation of the arresting cables for the ship. During his visit, Price was able to truly experience all that carrier life has to offer, dining in the enlisted sailor’s mess, the Chiefs’ mess, and even the officers’ ward room.

While the entire experience was an amazing opportunity for Price, some of his highlights were a little closer to home. While aboard, Price was able to reconnect with former students and Sailors whom have not only been a part of his North Chicago Community High School (NCCHS) NJROTC program, but have passed through the walls of Naval Station Great Lakes. While on his visit, a 2022 graduate of his NJROTC program, Seaman Muhica recognized the logo on his shirt and called out to him.

“To see Seaman Muhica on board and thriving there on the TR was a real pleasure. Our students are capable of great things, and she chose the Navy as her first step after graduation. It was gratifying to see her and get the chance to talk to her. North Chicago plays an important role in the Navy family. We prepare our graduates for service, and we host [Recruit Training Command] RTC where the Navy prepares recruits to be Sailors … It was humbling to really feel the role and the importance of the role that our community plays in preparing Sailors.”

Price felt it was powerful for him to be able to connect with one of his graduates in the middle of a vast ocean on board an enormous ship. He was even able to bring a little bit of NCCHS to the ship as well. Price presented the triad of the ship with hats and shirts from the NJROTC group as well as a flag of their unit.

Experiencing life at sea and seeing his own graduates only strengthened his support of the US Navy. Price stated “the Navy provides an opportunity for young people to experience real responsibility, a great deal of independence, and travel far from home.” and that all of the Sailors he met while on board were highly skilled and committed people, striving for personal improvement. He also highly recommends for other educators to take part in a similar experience! The experience not only gave him insight into the life of sailors underway, but filled him with a sense of the importance of his school district’s mission to serve not only Navy families, but all military children while they are in North Chicago.

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