Kind of sort of. They definitely are “special”. I never saw the inside of a C-1 but I have flown in a C-2; 2 CATs and 1 Trap…the CATs are exciting; the Traps are scary…but I digress.
For my first deployment we were mostly in the Med. I cannot remember even seeing a COD because we could get Navy CH-53 cargo flights out of Rota or Sig or various Italian coastal airfields. The Med is big but it’s not that big.
My last deployment was in the Western Pacific - lots of water with just a sprinkling of scattered bits of land. We had a COD detachment assigned to us. I think it was two C-2s working out of Okinawa. Basically, when we happened to be within range they would load up and fly on out; usually just one aircraft. They would stay on board fr a few days then fly back. I think we had a small group of maintainers and a pilot or two onboard most of the time.
So think about it. They fly an old 2 engine turbo prop waaaaayyy out over the same water that swallowed up Amelia Earhart…several hours one way to find a ship out in all that emptiness, and then land on it. OK, not quite that desperate (unless we are in EMCON), but that’s essentially what they do. They are an atypical bunch.
As for the site of the aircraft…eehhh…not much different from the older aircraft on the deck. Its pretty much a pregnant E-2C/D without the big frisbee on top. I’m pretty sure they’ve been upgraded with the 8 blade props and engines…but nothing like the shiny new FA-18 E/Fs or EF-18s.