Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Ryan Donahue, July 8th, 2011

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Introduction / childhood

Play segment

Partial Transcript: This is Travis Martin. We're doing Combat to Kentucky Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer introduces Travis Martin. Martin briefly describes his childhood and high school years.

Keywords: Eastern High School; La Grange (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); aviation; childhood; friends; grades; parents; petty officer, third class

Subjects: Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001-


Map Coordinates: 38.25266, -85.75846
00:01:29 - Influences on joining the military / joining as an aircraft engine mechanic / Military Entrance Processing Station

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um... early in life, do you remember anyone or any thing... that... you think influenced you...

Segment Synopsis: Donahue describes some of the reasons for his interest in the military and specifically in airplanes. He tells how he decided to join up and what specialization he chose.

Keywords: ASVAB; Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery; Korean War; MEPS; Military Entrance Processing Station; Top Gun (movie); University of Louisville; aircraft carriers; aircraft engine mechanic; airplanes; college; destroyers; electrician's mate; grandfather; inspection; mistakes; money; plane captains; recruiters; recruitment process; safety; second guessing; stress

Subjects: Grumman F-14 Tomcat; United States. Navy.

00:05:39 - Basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So after MEPS, how long until you went to basic training?

Segment Synopsis: Donahue talks about his experiences in basic training and what he learned there.

Keywords: Chicago; IT; Louisville International Airport; MEPS; Naval Station Great Lakes (Chicago); PT; USO; United Service Organizations; aircraft mechanics; attention to detail; bunk inspections; buses; drill instructors; exams; folding clothing; history; intense training; medical screenings; mental training; military entrance processing station; pain medications; paperwork; physical training; rack (??) inspections; sleep; waiting; wisdom teeth; yelling

Subjects: Basic training (Military education); United States. Navy.


00:10:53 - Training in Norfolk, Virginia / going on leave

Play segment

Partial Transcript: After, um, basic training... you're going to go to advanced individual training?

Segment Synopsis: Donahue describes his advanced training in aircraft maintenance and other more specific duties related to his job. He also talks about going on leave after finishing "A-school" and "C-school".

Keywords: "A-school"; "C-school"; AIT; Chicago:Navy Exchange; Norfolk (Va.); advanced individual training; aircraft engines; aviation mechanics; boot camp; career school; girlfriends; maintenance; manuals; pride; proficiency; uniforms

Subjects: Norfolk (Va.).; United States. Navy.


Map Coordinates: 36.85077,-76.28587
00:13:54 - A year and a half without deployment / training missions

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And then you began your military career... for all intents and purposes. You go to your command.

Segment Synopsis: Donahue tells how he spent the first portion of his time in the navy without actually being on any aircraft carriers. He also discusses training missions that he went on and taking the USS George Washington to San Diego for it to be later sent to Japan.

Keywords: Japan; San Diego (Calif.); USS George Washington (CVN-73); USS Kitty Hawk(CV-63); Western Kentucky; aircraft; aircraft carriers; command; deployment; drills; flight decks; friends; land flights; on-the-job-training; squadrons; training; training missions

Subjects: Norfolk (Va.).; United States. Navy.

00:18:30 - Typical duties / Rio de Janeiro

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell us a little more about that job. Like, what do you do? What's a day to day routine for...

Segment Synopsis: Donahue discusses some of the duties he was responsible for on a daily basis. He also gives his impressions of Rio de Janeiro.

Keywords: Ipanema Beach (Brazil); Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); aircraft maintenance; anchoring; beggars; catapults; cleaning; deployments; docking; engine inspections; flight decks; inspections; line division; mechanics; mooring; pilots; plane captains; poverty


Map Coordinates: -22.90354,-43.20959
00:22:24 - Straits of Magellan / Valparaiso, Chile / living on an aircraft carrier

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You said there were two stops. What was the next one?

Segment Synopsis: Donahue talks about crossing the Straits of Magellan and the time that he spent on shore in Valparaiso, Chile. He also describes what it was like to live on an aircraft carrier and the amenities that they had.

Keywords: Brazil; Brazilian military; Chile; Dramamine; Spanish language; Straits of Magellan; Valparaiso (Chile); air power demonstrations; currents; flight decks; gyms; hanger bays; leisure time; libraries; motion sickness; oil companies; stores; trouble-making; work centers


Map Coordinates: -33.04565, -71.62036
00:26:41 - Customs and courtesies in the navy / Valparaiso, Chile / a fire on the aircraft carrier

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh... hear a lot about the navy's adherence to customs and courtesies, especially at sea...

Segment Synopsis: Donahue talks about the segregation between the enlisted and the officers on an aircraft carrier. He tells a story of having to sleep on tour buses on shore because bad weather had broken away the barges used to board the carrier. He also describes a fire on board the carrier and its cause.

Keywords: Chile; Galapagos Islands; San Diego (Calif.); Spanish language; barges; charter buses; day shifts; enlisted; firefighting; fires; freon; general quarters; hasmat; inclement weather; international ports; investigators; living quarters; officers; sea-sickness; smoking; veterans; weather

Subjects: United States. Navy.


Map Coordinates: -71.62036, -33.04565
00:33:04 - Deployment / consideration of other career paths

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um... but yeah, once we were... finished our time in San Diego, we flew back.

Segment Synopsis: Donahue describes his journey from the United States on the USS Eisenhower that he made to be deployed. He also talks about other career options that he was considering at that time.

Keywords: Atlantic Ocean; MEPS; Marseille (France); Mediterranean Sea; Nevada; Red Sea; Suez Canal; USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69); USS George Washington (CVN-73); aircraft carriers; deployments; family; flight deck; military entrance processing station; pilot desert training; plankton; training

Subjects: Eastern Kentucky University.; Norfolk (Va.).; Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001-

00:37:22 - Donahue's son / duties on the flight deck

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Just briefly, what kind of stuff is going on back home?

Segment Synopsis: Donahue talks about his young son and how he broke the idea of his (Donahue's) deployment to him. He also talks about his duties on an aircraft carrier.

Keywords: DVD's; E2C Hawkeye; McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet; Military (??) Source; Virginia; adrenaline; airborne early warning squadron; aircraft; airplanes; airstrikes; children; danger; deployment; family; flight operations; landing gear wires; maintenance; sons; tailhooks

Subjects: Afghanistan.; United States. Navy.

00:41:45 - Attention to detail / lack of views on the war / dangerous situations on the flight deck

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So... at this point, were you starting to see the importance of attention to detail?

Segment Synopsis: Donahue describes the need for attention to detail in his work and his motivations for doing well. He states that he didn't really have much of an opinion on the war, even though he was a part of it. He also discusses some of the hazards of being on the flight deck.

Keywords: "flowcoats"; "fowl line"; air boss; aircraft; attention to detail; children; danger; deployment; flight decks; hairline cracks; motivation; port calls; propellers; sailors; trainees; war efforts; weapons

Subjects: Basic training (Military education)

00:45:44 - Leadership roles while in the navy / negative effects of military service / taking leave

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, there were trainees involved. Did you get some leadership experience while you were in the navy?

Segment Synopsis: Donahue talks about the leadership experience that he gained while in the navy. He continues to describe dangers on the flight deck and tells how it has impacted him negatively. He also talks about taking leave.

Keywords: E4; NCO's; USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69); aircraft; anxiety; communication skills; danger; deployment; disabilities; flight deck; hearing problems; leadership; leadership experience; leave; non-commissioned officers; parties; petty officer, third class; plane captain; safety; soldiers; trainees

Subjects: United States. Navy.

00:49:18 - Transition assistance program / nightmares

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But yeah, then I went back, and... once I got back to Virginia...

Segment Synopsis: Donahue talks about his being in the transition assistance program (TAPS) before finishing up in the military. He also shares how his last month, spent training on an aircraft carrier, has caused reoccurring nightmares for him.

Keywords: GI Bill; Louisville (Ky.); TAP; USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69); anxiety; leave; naval reserve; nightmares; resumes; terminal leave; training; transition assistance program; veterans' disability

Subjects: United States. Navy.


Map Coordinates: 36.85077,-76.28587
00:51:56 - GI Bill / Eastern Kentucky University and career plans / benefits of the navy

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I think it has adequately... told me how to, you know...

Segment Synopsis: Donahue tells how he applied for the GI Bill and Eastern Kentucky University, mentioning some of the career options he has considered. He also shares why he feels that the navy has given him a lot of opportunities.

Keywords: GI Bill; Louisville (Ky.).; VA; Veteran's Affairs; anxiety; attorneys; college; criminal justice; detectives; economic decline; eligibility papers; law; transitions; work ethic

Subjects: Eastern Kentucky University.

00:54:55 - Future plans / support at Eastern Kentucky University / lessons from the navy

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, what's next for you?

Segment Synopsis: Donahue discusses career options he has considered, particularly in law. He elaborates on the assistance that Eastern Kentucky University gives to student veterans. He also gives advice for those interested in joining the navy and shares how the navy has positively influenced him. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: EKU VETS; EKU Veterans Education and Transition Support; LSAT; attention to detail; camaraderie; car mechanics; credit hours; discipline; downsizing; homework; law school admission test; mechanics; neatness; persistence; punctuality; revisions; seniors; veterans

Subjects: Education.; Northern Kentucky University.; United States. Navy.; University of Kentucky.; University of Louisville.; Veterans--Education (Higher)--Kentucky.University of Louisville.