Interview Part 2: Navy Lt. j.g. Charles Sonntag From the USS Truman in the Gulf of Oman

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Did you go to college right after high school?

Yes, I attended Jackson College in Jacksonville, I graduated in 2006. I did the ROTC program, and I got commissioned the day I graduated.

How long are you in the Gulf of Oman for?

For as long as we're needed, sir. Everyone's just doing their job.

During your downtime, I'm picturing you guys being able to fish off the deck... Do you get to eat any of the fish you catch?

[laughs] Uh, no sir. No, the food's pretty good; they feed us pretty well because they know we're burning lots of energy. Actually, we do have fish sometimes, but I don't think they catch it in nets off the side of the ship. Actually, I know that they don't. 
Did you have any friends in Boca who thought joining the Navy was a bad idea or who weren't supportive?

No, I didn't have any friends who were anti-military or who weren't supportive. Not at all.  

Do you pay attention to any of the controversy that's going on? Have you read the Rolling Stone article about Gen. McChrystal?

Uh, no, sir. I have not read that. You know, honestly there hasn't been much word about what's happening out there. Whatever happens, our mission doesn't change. Our mission is to support the troops, and our leadership is set up in such a way so that we keep on doing what we're doing here. We need to be transparent. 

Do your shipmates get into political discussions? Do you guys discuss the war and how it's going?

Myself, no. I mean, the topic does come up every once in a while. Everyone kind of feels the same way out here. We know why we're here. We know what our job's supposed to be here. It's pretty well understood. 

Is there a dartboard with Obama's face on it or anything like that?

Oh, no, sir. That would not be good.

Do you think most of the people serving with you voted for him?

That I don't know, sir. That topic hasn't come up. You know, our days are pretty busy, and we're just doing what we're told to do out here. 

Does boredom ever become an issue?

Not really; the energy level is pretty constant. There's a saying here, they tell us, "If you're bored on the ship, you're doing something wrong."

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