The out-to-sea period known as "COMPTUEX" lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. This is a series of war games between two battle groups. Everything from submarines to warplanes are involved in practicing their warfare skills. Flight deck crews and pilots are graded on their performance and skill.
Catapult and Arresting Gear crews have the longest working days of anyone on the carrier, continuously on standby alert status. Most personnel take naps in their work center not getting any time off to go to their rack for a few hours. Food is a privilege, we don't always get to eat. If an alert is called while we are in line for chow, or about to sit down with our food, we have to leave it. By the time we get done, the mess decks (cafeteria) are closed until next chow time and we might not make it to that one either.