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  • Writer's pictureJami Barr


Would you like to sleep like a sailor aboard the USS Yorktown? I have excellent news, YOU CAN! Operation Overnight is a special experience that Patriot’s Point offers for groups who would like to dive into a sailor’s life. This experience provides some special guides who take the sailors in areas that are not always available to everyday visitors. There is a camp director and crew who help these sailors to their quarters for the overnight program and gets them settled in so that they can begin their journey as well. Come aboard and explore this amazing opportunity.

Operation Overnight began in 1980. I have met many adults who have come back to Patriot’s Point, and they talk about how they stayed onboard as a kid. Sometimes these people bring back their kids to experience Operation Overnight and sometimes they are just coming back for a normal visit. The minimum age required for this program is 6 and there is no maximum age. This allows parents, grandparents, etc. to come aboard and live like a sailor as well. I have seen plenty of grandparents attend Operation Overnight with their grandchildren and I just think that’s a wonderful memory made for both parties.

The groups of people that normally attend Operation Overnight are the Boy Scout groups, JRTOC, and church groups. There is no limitation to who can and can’t come aboard and usually the minimum group of people is 10. These groups come from all over the United States as well, which I personally find very cool. It just shows that Patriot’s Point really is providing quality education AND fun through this program. When these groups arrive, they are split up from males and females and briefed on what to expect in their stay. The most important detail of the briefing is that fact that everyone MUST participate in the fire drill. If anyone does not participate, they cannot stay overnight. This should go without saying, but it is to ensure the safety of all those who are onboard in case of an emergency.

The goal and/or purpose of this program is to teach the next generation the sacrifice people made for the United States, but to also enrich their minds so that they may have a better understanding of how the sailors during WWII lived and what their day-to-day operations were like. By using military terminology, the sailors that come aboard for Operation Overnight learn the verbiage that was, and still used, in today’s military. The campers are also provided with some extra free time to explore the vessel with their group leaders and/or parents while on board until certain activities are ready to begin.

This program was inspired by the sailors that once manned this vessel and kept it going during times of war. It is always nice to see how many groups come aboard and really take interest in the many different aspects that can be found at Patriot’s Point. When it is time for their private tours, these individuals get to explore some of the quarters that are not available in the self-guided tours. I went with Don on an Overnight tour and the kids got to explore the very front of the ship, the Captain’s living quarters, but they also got their hands on some artifacts such as clothing, hats, and accessories that were used in the WWII timeframe but also used in other times of war. There were some Medal of Honor replicas available for their eyes only as well.

As the sailors depart and make their way back to their normal lives, the people who work and operate Operation Overnight hope that they can take this experience and let it build some appreciation for those that answered the call in a time of need. This is a wonderful way to keep history alive. By allowing this program to continue for more than 40 years, the people that come to experience this program have helped shape it and make it grow. Every year thousands of kids, parents, and grandparents come aboard and become part of the history of this program. Every group helps to continue the legacy of Operation Overnight and allows this program to flourish.

I have attached the link to request a stay and more information on Operation Overnight blow:

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