Shall Not Perish

On May 12, I had the opportunity to spend 27 hours aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz Class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and the ship that President Bush landed on after toppling Saddam Hussein. The carrier was about 130 miles out to sea and our group landed on its flight deck in a C-2A Greyhound or “COD,” which is a twin-engine prop plane the Navy uses to transport personnel and cargo from the shore. Like all fixed wing planes that land on carriers the COD was “trapped” by one of the four wires stretched across the deck, when its tailhook locked into place. This meant we decelerated from about 128 miles an hour to zero in two-and-a-half seconds. It was quite a jolt.

On board the Lincoln were 5,000 men and women, a large proportion of them 19 and 20 years old, and every one with a task integral to defending you and me against the many enemies a free and prosperous people face in a world driven by envy and resentment, ignorance and hate. The carrier is a floating base which frees us from dependence on uncertain allies and the need for air space rights and a land presence in areas of the world – the Middle East in particular — where the forces of jihad germinate and threaten us with modern weaponry. The USS Abraham Lincoln is part of a nine-ship strike force which includes an escort of guided-missile destroyers and frigates, and raises the total personnel involved in the coordinated mission to about 8,500.

During our visit, the weather was clear and the sun shining but the wind was brisk and the ocean white-capped. Nonetheless, if you didn’t look over the side, you would hardly be aware that we were at sea as we planed through the water at 20 knots, so smooth was our passage. This was not hard to explain since the ship is more than 1,000 feet in length and displaces 97,500 tons. Its anchor alone weighs 60,000 pounds and the anchor chain another 300,000. It’s not easy for the mind to encompass these magnitudes or for that matter others we encountered. For example the ship contains two nuclear power plants, is driven by four 75,000-shaft horse-power engines, and carries three and a half million gallons of jet fuel. It has four “evaporators” which can distill 400,000 gallons of drinking water a day, a capability put to humanitarian service in natural disaster zones during the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in the Pacific.

At the time of our arrival, the strike force was conducting training exercises in anticipation of a forthcoming deployment. The 60-wing air squadron, consisting of F-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, was flying 12-hour shifts and participating in war games in which pilots launched from Pt. Mugu and other shore bases assumed the role of enemy craft. We were privileged to observe three sessions of launch and “recovery” (which is how the Navy describes the landing process) from the ship’s flight deck and bridge. It was an awesome sight as the F-18s came in every two minutes in identical flight patterns at 160 miles per hour and hit the trap wires – mostly the designated third wire, and did so not by dragging the hook but by hitting the wire itself. Every landing is filmed and every pilot graded. When I had a chance to talk to one of them, a young officer named Kyle Hartman, I asked him if the planes were radar-guided on the approaches. He said that as part of the training they were not. It was all eye-balled which made these performances even more extraordinary. Hartman had been in combat missions over Afghanistan and Iraq. I asked him about his education prior to joining the Navy and was told he was an engineering student and micro-biology major at Purdue before dropping out to enlist and go to flight school. Everything he knew about flying the Navy had taught him.

I was told a similar story by the crew member who took us on a tour of the ship’s magazine, where they break down, maintain, assemble and modify the most complex and advanced technological weapons systems, including smart bombs and guided missiles. I wish I could remember the detailed description he provided of the technologies involved in even one of these systems which he rattled off rapid-fire as though he were running through an ordinary grocery list. I asked him how long he had been doing this, and he answered four years. I asked him what he did before joining the Navy and he said, “I was stocking shelves in a retail store.”

When you have occasion to worry about the state of our civilian educational system or our civilian institutions generally, keep in mind that of all America’s institutions the military has been the least damaged by the tides of political correctness which have eroded the values that made our country strong. These two young men were as impressive achievements as the weapons systems themselves. The commanding officer of the strike force, Rear Admiral Mark Guadagnini, a combat pilot himself, gave us a talk which emphasized that our strength as a nation was not just a matter of technologies but of our values and the ideals which motivate us. It was therefore gratifying but not particularly surprising when I was dining in the crew mess and some of the pilots came over to thank me for the Freedom Center’s work.

The ship’s community takes ideas seriously. There is an on-board Lincoln shrine with the Gettysburg address and other Lincoln memorabilia. The ship’s crew pray together twice a day. The ship’s motto and its mission are provided by Lincoln’s words: Shall Not Perish – as in government of by and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

We departed on the COD, which had brought us there, by catapult — the way all fixed wing planes are launched from the carrier’s flight deck, which does not provide enough space for a normal takeoff. The crew members who orchestrate the launch are called “Shooters” because that is a precise description of what takes place. Going from a standing position to 140 miles per hour in two-and-half seconds provided an even greater kick than the landing, and was a way for the passengers to remember the incredible job these young men and women and their commanding officers are doing to keep us free.

You can thank the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln and learn more about them on their Facebook page.

  • eerie Steve

    Thank you for supporting the US Navy.

    The new economic standard in the world is not gold, or housing, or even healthcare but security. Thank you servicemen.

    • charlie

      Pathetic imperial fascists , sending your boys and girls off to sacrifice in the name of freedom! Thanks for ruining the world with almost everything you ever do, why don't you americans just go back to your own rotten country and knock some more of your silly skyscrapers down. Oh and maybe you could find room for your beloved Israel in the utah desert. Stop broadcasting your lies through your unentertaining mass media poisoning the world with your pointless values, your disgusting food , poisoned sodasand stealing all the resources . You are a trully disgusting bunch of losers who only know brute force and ignorance. Hey go live on the moon where you belong , We don't want a special relationship with your country any more here in the United Kingdom. Inshallah.

      • freedomlover

        Thanks US military for all you do to maintain freedom!

      • aspacia

        I'll remember that the next time the UK needs our help expelling foreign, foul Sharia following a$$wipes. BTW, I special ordered TP with Mohammed's face. So nice wiping my a$$ with this disgusting, misogynistic, pedaphile.

        Why not go back to the land of your ancestors and quit fouling the motherland. BTW, most of my British relatives dislike your fouling of their land.

      • Kim Bruce

        Hey Charlie,
        Why don't you quit sending your suicide bombers over to our countries and maybe, just maybe then we could quit sending our troops to yours.
        Get a real life and give up your stupid idiotical ideology.
        Islam is a political and sociological curse on the world.
        Mohammad was the creator of a fictional fantasyland for bedouins to conquer the known world 1400 years ago. Don't you think it is time to wake up to the realities of 2010 and that we can all get along in this world without forcing our pokitical, religious and social ideologies upon others who see the world in a different light?

      • Rifleman

        Sorry charlie if we were truly pathetic you wouldn't be b*tchin' moanin' and whinin' about us. You'd be laughing at us like we are you.

      • jinjar

        Yes Charlie, Radical Islam is much more humane . Sending their twenty somethings suicide bombers off to meet allah in a million pieces.

      • USMCSniper

        Ayn Rand had your mindless type pegged. You do not want to own our fortunes, they want us to lose it; they do not want us to succeed, they want us to fail; they do not want us to live, they want us to die; you desire nothing, you hate existence, and you keep running, trying not to learn that the object of your hatred is yourself . . . . You are the essence of evil, you, those anti-living objects who seek, by devouring the world, to fill the selfless zero of your soul. It is not our wealth that you’re after. yours is a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man.

      • Imperial Fascists

        cry baby!

      • Crossbow87

        Muslim men are so predictable. They hate the fact that Allah and Mohammed have left them with a worldview that makes them impotent, ineffectual and underdeveloped. Western thinking gives us these men, women, the carriers and the military ability. Islam gives us poverty, ignorance, female genital mutilation and honor killings. There is still hope for you Charlie. You can change…your belief system is a choice. Join the winning side.

      • joemont

        Thankfully for you, Bud, most of your countrymen disagree with you. Otherwise you might not have an island to spout your Balderdash from. Got a question for YA. If we are so terrible why is it that everytime the Stuff hits the Fan the good old USA is the one they call on to get it fixed…..Huummmmmm. Opps, Ya better hurry and go I hear a noise in the background. Think it's your camel wanting to be fed more BS by you Mutton Brain.

      • cochavi1

        Thanks, charlie. Utah is not a bad idea but the Mormons have it locked up.

        Thanks anyhow.

  • Tom Y

    Thank to all who serve in our armed forces.

  • aspacia

    Thanks for protecting our freedoms.

  • jbtrevor

    David, touching piece. How did you get to do that? I always wanted to to that, esp the flying part.

    • eerie Steve

      I think its invite only via the USO.

    • Rifleman

      Thrillseeker ;-), they wired some pilots up with sensors (during Vietnam, if I'm not mistaken) and discovered landing on a carrier is more stressful for pilots than combat. I'd love to ride one in myself, even those turboprops hit the deck going fast enough to qualify as a controlled crash.

      • trickyblain

        My uncle and cousin were Marine fighter pilots, they tell me that there's nothing scarier than a night landing…

  • Kim Bruce

    My most grateful thanks to the ladies and gentlemen of the armed forces who, without their expertise, nerves of steel, and unwavering bravery, keep our world a safer and more peaceful place to live in.
    May God protect you, as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, daily.

  • eerie Steve

    Sorry Charlie. I'm troll deaf.

    • charlie

      Ah well I won't bother you again, thanks for the comments, have enjoyed our mindless banter. Good luck and may your God go with you, all is fair in Love and War!

      • Jeff

        Give up your British passport and live in Saudi Arabia, let's see how long you would could take it!

  • salty

    I am thankful that the Navy is here to help protect ours and the world's freedom as is David Horowitz.
    P.S. Screw you charlie the Idiot.

  • mark

    Dave, you are a great American, but the plane you landed on The Lincoln, is a ''COD'' which is an abbreviation for Carrier Onboard Delivery.
    I dont know who told you it was a ''COG'', but it is indeed a ''cog'' in the wheel of the Greatest Navy in the world..

  • Rifleman

    I got to go on a dependants day cruise on the USS Eisenhower in the mid-80s (I had childhood friends on the Ike, USS Ranger, and USS Independence, among others), and my dad’s old Korean War Carrier (He was also on The USS Bremerton (CA-130), The USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) was moored on the other side of the pier. She looked small compared (at 60,000 tons fully loaded, she wasn’t really small) to the Ike. We didn’t get to do traps (I’m jealous, and Horowitz is obviously no chicken), but it was an experience that shouldn’t be passed on, if you get the opportunity. An F-14 did a supersonic flyby at flight deck level, and three flights of A-6s dropped 500 pounders a mile or so off the beam, close enough to feel ‘em thump. It’s like a top fuel race, video just can’t do it justice, and one has to see and feel it firsthand to really appreciate it. Attending any kind of military open house will make anyone but an enemy sleep better.

    • cochavi1

      Scary indeed. Parachuting at 3000 feet is no scarier than that sort of landing. Horowitz has the cajones.

  • Solarcontrol

    I lived what David described for 3yrs (1980-1983) as a member of Attack Squadron 145 (VA-145 Swordsmen) aboard the USS Ranger (or at NAS Whidbey when not at sea).
    F-18s were just hitting the fleet.
    In fact, I remember the USS Carl Vinson getting the 1st squadron of em (I think) when it was brand new as well.
    My squadron was A-6 Intruders.
    They've been replaced by the super-hornets.

    Guys don't let Charlie rile you up.
    His stack of mindless leftwing cliches couldn't have possibly been sincere.
    Could they?

    • badaboo

      Charlie's not a troll , he a muslim ….doing what comes natural .-hating jews and America. I can guarantee ya , his name ain't charlie , or anything close .

  • Gylippus

    Thanks for sharing this David. It's hard to put into words the pride and gratitude one feels towards these fine men and women. The are our best and bravest, and our shield and armor in times of need.

  • Brett

    I was a member of the commisioning crew for the Lincoln, and everytime I walked down the pier to board her, I got chills up and down my arm. She is a beautiful ship and the crew is her heart.

    • Rifleman

      Do they still have Plank Owners in the Navy? The commissioning crew used to be the plank owners of a ship.

  • Indioviejo

    I love this piece, David. It made me nostalgic for service I didn't see. As an old Army trooper, it could hava been nicer to sleep in a bunk and not in the mud. And the chow I hear is terrific. All of our men in uniform deserve praise and admiration for the job they do. It has never been easy, but then, we all do it for the money, as everybody knows. When we go back to Europe, and we will, there will be a cash bonus on Charlie and his camarades scalps, so as to make it more interesting. LOL.

  • badaboo

    God Bless America , and all who serve and defend her .God Bless the USS Abraham Lincoln and all the Crew who serve in that ship .

  • whatsso4me

    Beautiful article. Our military men and women are national treasures. Our nation is truly blessed.

  • Michael

    I got Photo-Electric Football for Christmas, but this is a lot cooler, David.

  • interact

    Finally – recognition that it is our armed forces and it's diligence to details that allows us to remain a strong Republic – I suggest that you and your readers need to commemorate those within our society who are willing to put their lives on the line – everyday – particularly on Memorial day.

  • kim

    Great piece David, God Bless or men and women who are serving.
    David, i envy you for being able to be on board the U.S.S Lincoln, it would be a dream come true for me to be able to take that tour.
    My BF served on the U.S.S Forrestal durning Vietnam. It's sad that the gov wants to spend 24 billion just to sink her, when they should be used as a history lesson for every American.

  • Anne M. Roehm

    God Bless each and every man and woman serving as well as their families at home
    who must be brave missing them:) I must have the largest United States of America
    flag on my front porch with a big yellow bow waiting for the day and praying to bring
    them home safe to their families when the time is right! Thank heavens someone
    is out there stating that yes we are a country made up of brave intelligent, caring
    men and women!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joe

    What kind of religion is it ?
    Clearly they need help getting out. Support if the kin and friends believe in death for apostates – leaving the cult!

    Really, how can ANY rational person believe that hogwash? GOD spoke to Mohommad while he was bedding a 9 yr old wife?!? Told him to murder his enemies with no honor in their sleep? A guy of real class – married an older, wealthier woman for her money and power, then becomes a religious nut job cult leader sleeping with kids and tells the world God commands him and his followers to murder people?

    Yep, that's a god I want to believe in. .. These people have no logic and unfortunately only violence protects us from them. How do you stop that ignorance?

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  • Dog nutrition guide

    The ship is huge and invincible, i think there is no other ship like this aside from US. I salute US NAVY!

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