Right now, thousands of men and women are at sea, keeping America safe. Among them is a sailor from Wayne County.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Schuler of Waymart is one of the go-to guys when it comes to the firepower onboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"I build bombs for deployment, for Operation Unit Resolve," said Schuler.
Those bombs can sometimes weigh anywhere from 500 to 2,000 pounds.
"He’s a superstar. He looks like a superhero," Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Marcus Spencer said.
He's a 24-year-old military hero who spent much of his childhood raising and caring for farm animals in northeastern Pennsylvania.
“My parents helped me develop a good work ethic,” explains Schuler.
It's a work ethic that his shipmates see play out daily at sea.
“Nothing would get done if you’re trying to do it alone,” Spencer added.
Michael is just one of several heroes from our area Newswatch 16 caught up with on board an aircraft carrier off the coast of Virginia.
On board “The Mighty Ike,” we got to see Michael’s life at sea, from his meals on the mess deck to how he and the crew of 5,000 sleep at night.
In the berthing area, there’s not much space for your personal stuff and the nights can get noisy.
“You just put in headphones so you can go to sleep,” explains Schuler. “I play death metal and I’ll fall asleep to that."
Michael’s mission at sea is simple: maintain readiness for either war or peace.
"It’s seven days a week," he said.
Why did he join the Navy?
“Both of my grandfathers were in the military. One was in the Air Force and my other grandfather, on my Dad’s side, he was in the Navy and the Korean War. I just want to honor the both of them.”
The internet is spotty, meaning little time for Michael to talk with his wife or the Schuler family back in Waymart, sometimes making life at sea more stressful.
“Just try to keep myself sane on the ship,” says Schuler. “You need something to keep sane. You need a hobby and my hobby is the gym.”
“The Mighty Ike” has several workout areas, including the seaside gym which, hands down, probably has the best view on the carrier.
"Biggest thing I miss? Some Old Forge pizza! I would really like some right now.”
Packages from back home help.
“I get this great feeling and I can’t wait to go to my rack and open it up and see what my parents or wife sent me.”
And once the mission at sea is complete, the 282-pound sailor his friends think is a superhero has one hope.
“I'd just like to sit with my mom, drink coffee, have conversations with her.”