U.S. Navy, Unitus Community Credit Union Strengthen Bonds


Education is a pillar of Unitus Community Credit Union’s mission – just usually not this kind of education. The U.S. Navy invited Unitus President and CEO, Steve Stapp, for an overnight stay aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) to learn how the Navy works together to protect our country.

The connection happened as part of the Commander Naval Air Forces Distinguished Visitor Embark Program. Stapp flew out from the San Diego coast in a C-2 Greyhound plane, the oldest class of plane in the U.S Navy inventory. Some have described it endearingly as “a box with no windows.” Thirty minutes later, he landed abruptly on an aircraft carrier.

“The pressure is just surreal. When you hit the deck, you go from 150 to zero in about 3 to 4 seconds. It literally just takes the wind right out of your chest,” marveled Stapp.

After landing, Stapp received a tour of the colossal ship, which spans a full 4.2 acres of sovereign U.S. property. He then shared meals with military personnel of all stripes and slept in a bunk bed below the flight deck overnight. Aside from Stapp, other guests of the Navy included the Mayor of San Diego, a Senator from Utah, and a number of influential business leaders.

One of the most striking parts of the experience for Stapp was learning how these intricate teams constantly prepare to defend our country against harm. They must train to become “Blue Ocean Certified,” he explained. That means they are ready to operate efficiently, effectively, and safely in the middle of the ocean, with no land to fall back on. What’s more, given the noise involved, the team has developed a language consisting entirely of hand gestures in order to communicate amongst the deafening sounds of aircraft constantly around them.

“They’re so precise, it’s like a ballet performed on a flight deck,” Stapp beamed. “Planes are constantly moving and everybody has to fulfill their duties exactly right or something very bad could happen. It gives you a whole new appreciation for how dedicated our military is, and what it truly means to take responsibility for yourself and those around you.”

Posted in Member News.