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Our Islands in the Storm: Carriers as the new phalanxes.
National Review Online ^ | December 13, 2002 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 12/13/2002 3:24:39 PM PST by xsysmgr

Sometimes a distinctive weapon — a Venetian galley or British man-of-war — becomes emblematic of an entire culture. For three centuries, the phalanx — columns of armored hoplites in a forest of raised spear points — obliterated any Persians foolish enough to stand in its way. Plutarch said at the battle of Plataea that its very look instilled terror, comparing the Greeks' approach to some sort of enormous aroused hedgehog. "There came over the entire phalanx," he wrote, "suddenly the look of some ferocious beast as it wheels at bay and stiffens its bristles." No wonder the vast imperial army of the Persian king collapsed when the Spartans' spears bore down and ripped it to shreds.

But the phalanx was more than a singularly deadly infantry unit or a psychological weapon of terror. Its dense columns also reflected the solidarity of free men, who willingly donned heavy armor under the Mediterranean sun, crowded with one another in cumbersome rows, marched in unison — and defined courage as following orders, advancing on command and in rank, and protecting one's comrade on the left. Aristotle thought the city-state — the very beginning of Western civilization — was identified by the emergence of such a strange way of fighting. Indeed, the polis arose, he wrote, when a new class of farmers — Europe's first middle class of free property owners — began to fight in unison in these serried ranks, armored columns that other men, whether aristocrats, the poor, or those outside the Greek world, could not or would not emulate.

Our aircraft carriers are this nation's phalanxes, at once frightening weapons and symbols of American freedom. Few countries can build such behemoths; fewer still operate them with any degree of efficiency. Germany in its darkest hours never launched a single one. Japan's were long ago sent to the bottom of the Pacific. Russia's attempts resulted in abysmal failure. England has a couple, France one — in the aggregate all lack the power of a single American carrier. And we have twelve of these colossuses — $5 billion, 80,000-90,000-ton monsters, each home to a crew of 5,000. Their flight decks cover 4.5 acres, and the 70 (and more) planes on each wield more destructive power than do most countries.

Carriers are as much small cities — 15,000 meals served each day — as they are ships. Visually their arrival produces a psychological effect not unlike the approach of B-52s or C-5s, their size, speed, and wake seemingly defying the laws of nautical physics. Critics cite their costs and vulnerability, suggesting that robots, drones, and more sophisticated missiles on the horizon are a better investment. But I am not so sure of their purported obsolescence.

First, like the phalanx, the American carrier is more than a weapon of destruction or even a tool of deterrence. It is a microcosm of America itself at its best. I spent two days recently on the John F. Kennedy and watched from out in the Atlantic as it unceasingly received and launched F-14s and F-18s. The average age of its crew seemed about 19 or 20. Most Americans don't trust their children to take out the family van on Saturday night; our navy entrusts $50 million jets to teenagers, whose courage and maturity trump those of most adults.

At Stanford University, where our wealthier and supposedly more educated reside, silly theme houses exist with names like Casa Zapata and Ujama, as upscale students are segregated by race in a balkanized and separatist landscape. My own university in California has auxiliary but separate graduation ceremonies for Mexican Americans.

By contrast, in the far less comfortable but much more real world of the Kennedy, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and whites are indistinguishable in the manner in which they eat, sleep, and work, united as they are as Americans in a common cause, not separated by race, class, and tribe. African-American officers supervise whites, and vice-versa in a meritocracy where equality is a natural, not an induced, phenomenon. Women fly planes that men service or the other way around or both. And recently graduated Naval Academy ensigns learn from tough men with tattoos and calluses who inhabit primordial places of fire and oil in the ship's bowels or who work on the flight deck where a momentary lapse in concentration can get one disemboweled or vaporized in seconds. Our universities might do better to mothball Ethnic Studies and send the entire freshman class to the Kennedy for a semester.

Yet these men and women are hardly janissaries. Like Greeks, they are citizen-soldiers, and so do strange things that a Socrates or Aeschylus, who fought in the phalanx, might have approved of. Apart from its bombs and missiles, the Kennedy, like its eleven deadly siblings, has a chapel, library, and hospital. Its media experts produce state-of-the-art videos; its ward room still displays the paintings of its first skipper, Admiral Yates, who also designed the ship's seal, Latin motto and all.

The Kennedy's present captain, Ronald Henderson Jr., like the ship's revered namesake, is a Harvard graduate who prepared for college by reading another warrior-scholar — Xenophon — in the original Greek. His job description is deterrence and so mandates that he keep ready at a moment's notice deadly weapons to convince evil regimes not to dare try attack the United States. He does that hourly without flaw, seemingly without sleep; but he is also a skilled university provost of sorts whose vast floating campus accepts 18-year-olds — who often enter reckless, but who graduate as mature and experienced citizens for the service and security they give us. Accountants remind us of the Kennedy's cost, but how can we measure its real worth over 34 years, when some150,000 Americans have graduated as far better people from its rigorous curriculum?

During the Cold War there was much talk that such floating airfields were anachronistic and too vulnerable in a battle of guided missiles and submarines. But they survived that conflict and evolved in ways that have made them more, not less critical in the current age of asymmetrical warfare. Indeed, no carrier has been sunk by hostile fire since World War II. In uncertain times we pay no foreign rent for their flight decks nor haggle with autocrats for permission to use their runways. GPS bombs from the Kennedy's planes can streak into the windows of terrorists, who would have trouble even finding such a rapidly moving ship — it runs faster than most ski-boats — blacked out by deep night on a wide ocean. I would prefer to entrust our jets to our sailors on our own floating runways than to Egyptian or Saudi or Kuwaiti military police. And so in the hours after September 11, our president didn't need to ask whether that week the Turks were friendly or whether Mr. Schroeder might give permission to use German air space. Instead, he no doubt demanded, "Where are the carriers right now?"

Presently the open seas are ours; and such 23-storey enforcers go where they wish and do what they please — not only ensuring America's freedom, but guaranteeing that the Japanese can buy oil, the Chinese can ship Wal-Mart their sundry goods, and our food reaches hungry Africa. Ships that helped obliterate the Taliban and may do the same to the fascist Republican Guard in Iraq also save sailors of foreign navies on the high seas who are on the brink of death and need life-saving operations, or stop to pick up the anonymous dead who float routinely in the Arabian Sea — careful to notify surrounding nations of their losses and to provide a dignified Islamic funeral as if the drowned were our own.

The skill and courage of pilots have transformed the nightmarish — and, frankly, terrifying to watch — ordeal of receiving and launching planes on a rolling deck into a routine, albeit a deadly one. A half-century history of training and the tragic lessons learned from hundreds of deaths in peace and war have all honed pilots' skills to a fine art. These men risk destruction daily — to make less money than a middling college professor. They call "sporty" what we call terrifying. An empty ocean, jet fuel, sparks, heavy metal, and speed, after all, do not exactly combine to make a safe environment.

The carrier's efficiency and lethality, however, are not a consequence of mere technological superiority, but of the dividends of a peculiarly American set of values. If we gave the Truman to Egypt it would sink on its maiden voyage. The French Charles de Gaulle I imagine has better food than the Roosevelt, but far fewer planes and even fewer launches. Israel has astonishing pilots, but few if any could land on the Vinson. Even the Swiss or Dutch could not build a Ronald Reagan. China claims they can soon launch a simulacrum to our carriers; but though they can steal the technology of an Enterprise, they still cannot emulate the ethic and creed at the heart of its success — unless China too first creates a culture of freedom. Carriers, in other words, are an American thing, and I am glad we at least will never have to meet such things in battle.

As we ponder the cost of building and manning them — the newest and last of its class is to be the George H. W. Bush — we should consider how the value of such icons transcends the mere tonnage of their weapons. Tonight we sleep reasonably well in part because the Kennedy and her sisters do not — and can turn up anywhere to convey just that message to our enemies.

If we must go to war, and if we must send a half-dozen or so of these giant and uniquely American ships and our nation's best with them into harm's way, then let us at least give them the support and assurance to finish the job and bring them home with victory and resolution rather than with another decade of no-fly zones and an endless and hazardous stalemate. Anything less will be beneath the courage of their crews and the deadly risks they must take.



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: aircraftcarriers
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Nobody but Hanson could (or would) draw reasonable parallels with an ancient Greek phalanx and a modern aircraft carrier.
1 posted on 12/13/2002 3:24:39 PM PST by xsysmgr
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To: Long Cut
ping!
2 posted on 12/13/2002 3:31:33 PM PST by null and void
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To: xsysmgr
Victor Davis Hanson BUMP!
3 posted on 12/13/2002 3:43:05 PM PST by happygrl
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To: xsysmgr
As usual, beautifully done. We might add that not only were the members of the phalanx free men, but at least in early days they bought and owned their armor and weapons. It was a true citizen's army.
4 posted on 12/13/2002 3:43:09 PM PST by Cicero
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To: xsysmgr
"152 HORNET BALL 4500 COUPLED" "TADPOLE IS CENTERED"
5 posted on 12/13/2002 4:04:04 PM PST by Mat_Helm
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To: Hoplite
ping
6 posted on 12/13/2002 5:05:20 PM PST by Ranger
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To: Ranger
A fine Friday evening read.
Thanks for the ping.
7 posted on 12/13/2002 7:02:34 PM PST by Hoplite
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To: null and void; 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub; DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet; radu; Kathy in Alaska; All
Thanks for the ping, Null. This article is outstanding!

All the more so since, come next fall or thereabouts, I will be reporting aboard the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67) for duty.

Yesterday, I drove past her at her berth at Naval Station Mayport, here in Jacksonville, Florida. Just SEEING a ship that large is stunning. And she's not even considered a "supercarrier", being a conventionally-powered (versus a nuclear-powered) craft.

I once read that the only man-made machine in the world more deadly than an aircraft carrier was an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. I said,"So what? We own both...".


8 posted on 12/14/2002 7:56:22 AM PST by Long Cut
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To: null and void
"Our universities might do better to mothball Ethnic Studies and send the entire freshman class to the Kennedy for a semester."

One thing's for certain: their eyes would be SNAPPED open to the real world.

Believe me, a tour of duty in ANY armed force, prior to college, is of incalculable value to the person, especially in these times. I would have no problem encouraging a child of mine to do so.

9 posted on 12/14/2002 8:00:18 AM PST by Long Cut
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To: bentfeather; SK1 Thurman; rdb3; Travis McGee; Squantos; A Navy Vet; Aquamarine; jwalsh07; ...

BUMP! for my next command!

10 posted on 12/14/2002 8:08:48 AM PST by Long Cut
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To: Long Cut; All
Hey Long Cut, good to hear from you!

Be safe!
Say hello to Mrs. Long Cut from all of us.
Are you taking good care of the car?

Stop around again we you are free and can get the fleet of planes out! Love that desert scotter! LOL

11 posted on 12/14/2002 8:18:42 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: Long Cut
You're in Jacksonville? Of all the places my dad was stationed I liked Jacksonville best! (Maybe going through puberty there had something to do with it).

Are the people still as friendly and open as they were way back when in the late sixties, I wonder? I still miss it. If there were any wafer fab jobs there I'd be there!
12 posted on 12/14/2002 8:19:52 AM PST by null and void
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To: Long Cut
Will keep that in mind when my son is old enough, in 9 years. Assuming any of us are still alive...
13 posted on 12/14/2002 8:22:08 AM PST by null and void
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To: null and void
Ahhh, don't worry, we will be, even if slightly hung over from the victory party. Trust me, we NEVER lose.

And as far as your son goes, people with some prior military service as Enlisteds who go to college afterwards have a MUCH easier time of it, and tent to get MUCH better grades than those who did not.

First, they can get a whole bunch of credits just for the military training and schools they have gone to, eliminating the need to take those classes over, and secondly, their time-management and study habits blow away those of the kids who did NOT first serve. Saves money in the short AND long run.

Trust me, I went to college BEFORE joining up...I'd have reversed that in a heartbeat if I'd known then what I know now.

14 posted on 12/14/2002 9:10:42 AM PST by Long Cut
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To: OldDominion
FYI -- and hats off to the men and women who man these carriers and also to the folks in your hometown who build these great ships.
15 posted on 12/14/2002 9:16:24 AM PST by Al B.
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To: xsysmgr
At Stanford University...silly theme houses exist with names like...Ujama...as students are segregated by race in a balkanized and separatist landscape.

Hey, I spent a quarter in "Ujama" (its actually spelled Ujamaa). Only half the residents are African-American. It was like a carrier flight deck in one way--- it was loud!

And what does Ujuama mean? Collectivism!!

The concept of Ujamaa is an African form of collectivism in living. Explicitly, "Ujamaa" means collective economics and is from the Swahili word "Jamaa", meaning family. Only through Ujamaa - family - do we find the oneness with others like us that is necessary for us to grow to our full individual potentials. Only through Ujamaa - collectivism - will we find the strength to overcome. And only through Jamaa - family - can we find expression for our ideas, culture, and uniqueness that will endure beyond our brief passage in life.

16 posted on 12/14/2002 9:41:54 AM PST by Plutarch
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To: Long Cut
Here is another view:

What the battleship was in 1941, the aircraft carrier is now: a big, proud, expensive...sitting duck.Aircraft carriers came out of WW II looking powerful, but that was before microchips. Now, when an enemy tanker can fire 60 self-guiding cruise missiles from hundreds of miles away, no carrier will survive its first real battle.</>

17 posted on 12/16/2002 1:39:13 PM PST by A Longer Name
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To: A Longer Name
italians </i> go away
18 posted on 12/16/2002 1:40:05 PM PST by A Longer Name
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To: A Longer Name
What the battleship was in 1941, the aircraft carrier is now: a big, proud, expensive...sitting duck.Aircraft carriers came out of WW II looking powerful, but that was before microchips. Now, when an enemy tanker can fire 60 self-guiding cruise missiles from hundreds of miles away, no carrier will survive its first real battle.

This assumes that the enemy tanker can detect the target reliably.

There's only one nation that can do over-the-horizon targeting on a consistent basis.

And that nation is the United States of America.

19 posted on 12/16/2002 1:43:21 PM PST by Poohbah
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To: xsysmgr
But the phalanx was more than a singularly deadly infantry unit or a psychological weapon of terror. Its dense columns also reflected the solidarity of free men, who willingly donned heavy armor under the Mediterranean sun, crowded with one another in cumbersome rows, marched in unison — and defined courage as following orders, advancing on command and in rank, and protecting one's comrade on the left.

Since when were Spartans "free men?" Able warriors, certainly. Brave, without doubt. But Spartans were about as free as the Kaiser's boys.

And as for "protecting one's comrade on the left, the reality was apparently rather different. In phalanx formation, the shield was held in the left hand. Each soldier in the line would naturally crowd right-ward to gain protection from the shield next to him, so the entire phalanx would tend to drift to the right as it advanced. According to Jon Bridgeman at the University of Washington, Greek generals had to account for this drift when they set up their formations. Guess wrong, and the advancing phalanx would miss its adversary! (Or, worse, end up with an exposed flank.)

20 posted on 12/16/2002 1:53:05 PM PST by r9etb
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To: xsysmgr
Germany in its darkest hours never launched a single one.

Actually, the Germans did have one -- the Graf Spee -- it was launched but never commissioned. The Russians nabbed it at the end of the war and it hasn't been heard from or seen since.

21 posted on 12/16/2002 2:00:03 PM PST by Junior
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To: xsysmgr
Carrier alumnus:

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) -- 01 APR 87 to 25 SEP 91.

22 posted on 12/16/2002 2:13:50 PM PST by Junior
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To: Long Cut
I've always wondered what the USS clinton would look like and if anyone would ever serve on it?? It would probably sink on it's maiden voyage anyway!

Pray for W and the Troops

23 posted on 12/16/2002 2:16:39 PM PST by bray
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To: Poohbah
This assumes that the enemy tanker can detect the target reliably.

So these huge behemoths must rely on invisibility for protection. This doesn't sound good.

Besides, I suspect there is a way to detect them, or will be in the future. For example, a swarm of toy-sized unmanned aircraft scouring the area.

There's only one nation that can do over-the-horizon targeting on a consistent basis.

Well, even an inconsistent basis may do it. The enemy just needs to get lucky once or twice out of dozens of tries. And again, the technologies available to everyone keep improving and there is nothing we can do about it.

24 posted on 12/16/2002 2:27:05 PM PST by A Longer Name
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To: bray
Prayer for our Navy Carriers and their servicepeople and families bump!
25 posted on 12/16/2002 2:30:30 PM PST by freedumb2003
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To: xsysmgr
Remember the idiot Gary "Money Business" Hartpence, who wanted to mothball our big deck carriers? We've got 12 left. If I had my way, we'd still have 15.
26 posted on 12/16/2002 2:44:30 PM PST by Man of the Right
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To: A Longer Name
So these huge behemoths must rely on invisibility for protection. This doesn't sound good.

They rely on the curvature of the Earth, just as ships have done since the time of Carthage. The sea is frickin' huge, and even the biggest damn ship in the world is hard to detect against that big a search area. It's far more likely that the carrier will find the ship stalking it than the stalker will find the carrier--the carrier has far more sensor assets available to it.

Besides, I suspect there is a way to detect them, or will be in the future. For example, a swarm of toy-sized unmanned aircraft scouring the area.

Toy-sized aircraft are not going to carry worthwhile sensor payloads to long ranges.

Well, even an inconsistent basis may do it. The enemy just needs to get lucky once or twice out of dozens of tries.

And in executing dozens of tries, he loses his forces--well, there's one nation that can afford the price tag of a big navy, and one that keeps taking losses.

Care to guess which nation that is?

And again, the technologies available to everyone keep improving and there is nothing we can do about it.

Ah, but those technologies are available to us, and the search problem ain't going to go away quickly.

27 posted on 12/16/2002 2:46:42 PM PST by Poohbah
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To: Poohbah
This assumes that the enemy tanker can detect the target reliably. There's only one nation that can do over-the-horizon targeting on a consistent basis.

At the moment, and as far as we know.

At the point where there are enough satellites up there to track every ship in the sea (by optical, radar, infrared, and picking up emissions) carriers will be in trouble. Particularly when any random container ship or tanker within a couple hundred miles could be concealing launchers for a couple of hundred cruise missiles

28 posted on 12/16/2002 2:47:47 PM PST by SauronOfMordor
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To: A Longer Name
What the battleship was in 1941, the aircraft carrier is now: a big, proud, expensive...sitting duck.Aircraft carriers came out of WW II looking powerful, but that was before microchips. Now, when an enemy tanker can fire 60 self-guiding cruise missiles from hundreds of miles away, no carrier will survive its first real battle.

In theory, it is certainly possible for a carrier to be defeated, even though nobody has come even remotely close in decades. But if we ever found out who the offending nation was, God have mercy on their souls after our subs retaliate!

29 posted on 12/16/2002 2:51:58 PM PST by jpl
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To: SauronOfMordor
At the point where there are enough satellites up there to track every ship in the sea (by optical, radar, infrared, and picking up emissions) carriers will be in trouble.

Ocean surveillance satellites are of extremely limited utility and extremely high cost.

There's one nation out there on God's Green Earth that can afford to deploy something that wickedly expensive.

It's good to be the King!

30 posted on 12/16/2002 2:53:42 PM PST by Poohbah
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To: xsysmgr
Even the Swiss or Dutch could not build a Ronald Reagan.

The Finns, Norwegians, Swedes and Dutch could ... technically, but not hardly by ability to marshall the social motives and forces to do so.

31 posted on 12/16/2002 3:14:25 PM PST by bvw
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To: bvw
"Even the Swiss or Dutch could not build a Ronald Reagan.

The Finns, Norwegians, Swedes and Dutch could ... technically, but not hardly by ability to marshall the social motives and forces to do so. "

Hey, only God can make a Ronald Reagan. Not the ship is pretty cool, too!
32 posted on 12/16/2002 4:35:24 PM PST by freedumb2003
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To: freedumb2003; bvw
Me bad type - Not=But
33 posted on 12/16/2002 4:47:14 PM PST by freedumb2003
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To: Junior
Hate to correct you, Chief, but the Graf Spee wasn't a carrier; she was a pocket battleship.

Rather than have the Brits sink her, her skipper ordered her sunk in the Rio de la Plata, in South America. Most of her deckplates and armor were salvaged by the Argentines. In fact, some Ballester-Molina 1911-A1 .45s were made of this steel. Legend has it that when the slide is racked, a ringing sound, like a bell clang, is heard.

Obviously, these pistols are highly valued.

If the Germans in WWII ever constructed a CV, I never heard of it. I'll have to look that up.

34 posted on 12/16/2002 5:27:09 PM PST by Long Cut
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To: Long Cut
My bust. It was the Graf Zeppelin. I did a quick google search and discovered my error. According to one source she (or "he" as the Germans refer to their warships) was laid down 1936-12-28 and would have come in at 28,900 tons. She was never completed and was towed away as a war prize by the Russians at the end of the war (supposedly loaded to the scuppers with loot).
35 posted on 12/16/2002 5:58:28 PM PST by Junior
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To: xsysmgr
Even back in the '80s one of Reagan's opponents did admit that the carrier has one cardinal virtue, "You can move it."

Try that with an airbase.

Carriers are here to stay, and I'm happy about that.

36 posted on 12/16/2002 6:19:29 PM PST by LibKill
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To: Plutarch
Sowhat you are saying is that you are Communist.
37 posted on 12/16/2002 6:42:45 PM PST by jslade
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To: freedumb2003
Ach, you are right. Hey, what was the name of the western TV show Reagan used to host?
38 posted on 12/16/2002 7:30:03 PM PST by bvw
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To: bvw
...what was the name of the western TV show Reagan used to host?

Death Valley Days, 1963-65

39 posted on 12/17/2002 6:42:13 AM PST by xsysmgr
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To: Long Cut
I found a few photos of the KMS Graf Zeppelin at this site. One wonders how the war would have gone had she ever been commissioned.
40 posted on 12/17/2002 7:21:28 AM PST by Junior
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To: Junior
Thanks for the info. History, especially military and political, is one of my hobbies. Sounds like the ship would have been finished if not for Goering's territorialism. Good thing Hitler chose generals less for skill than for blind, doglike loyalty.

Guess what...I'm no longer going to the KENNEDY. Can you say, "ORD-MOD"?

41 posted on 12/17/2002 3:18:41 PM PST by Long Cut
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To: bray
USS clinton....
Ummm....
a bent phalanx??
42 posted on 12/17/2002 3:39:51 PM PST by G Larry
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To: Long Cut
If the Germans in WWII ever constructed a CV, I never heard of it. I'll have to look that up.

They (bleeped) around with a couple of carrier designs: a CV named Graf Zeppelin, and a CVL named Seydlitz.

43 posted on 12/17/2002 7:04:53 PM PST by Poohbah
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To: Junior
One wonders how the war would have gone had she ever been commissioned.

Germany would still have lost.

44 posted on 12/17/2002 7:05:35 PM PST by Poohbah
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To: Poohbah
Of course they would have. And Graf Zeppelin would probably have spent the war in some fjord in Norway. But, the fun of "what if" is contemplating the outcome if, say, the carrier had accompanied Bismark and Prinz Eugen (sp?) on their dash to the Atlantic. Could the German pilots have kept the British torpedo planes at bay? Would there have been a carrier clash in the Atlantic? Would Bismark have escaped its doom and wreaked havoc among British commerce?
45 posted on 12/18/2002 3:03:06 AM PST by Junior
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To: Long Cut
All the more so since, come next fall or thereabouts, I will be reporting aboard the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV-67) for duty.

Best of luck, neighbor- Jacksonville's about 70 miles south of here. My wife was in the symphony there in the early 1980's.

46 posted on 12/18/2002 3:14:22 AM PST by backhoe
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To: xsysmgr
Even at $5 billion - or even $10 billion - our aircraft carriers are one of the greatest bargains the taxpayer has ever benefitted from. They are floating pieces of U.S. territory that can deliver awesome firepower anywhere in the world within hours. Despite all the criticism of aircraft carriers as being "sitting ducks" - we haven't lost one since WW2. And even by then, we were building them faster than any enemy could hope to sink them.

My only regret was that I never had the opportunity to serve on one during my time with the Marines.

47 posted on 12/18/2002 3:30:32 AM PST by SamAdams76
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To: SamAdams76
My only regret was that I never had the opportunity to serve on one during my time with the Marines.

Honestly, you didn't miss anything. I served aboard IKE for four-and-a-half years; I didn't miss it one iota when I transferred off.

48 posted on 12/18/2002 3:45:25 AM PST by Junior
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To: A Longer Name
Our carriers aren't the sitting ducks they are made out to be. They are surrounded by carrier groups with formidable power and defensive (as well as offensive) capabilities. Should such a long-range attack be made with cruise missiles, it is unlikely that these missiles would survive making it to the carrier. Also understand that a carrier group is usually aware of anything bigger than a rowboat within a radius of several hundred miles.

The USA is making great strides with the "Star Wars" missile defense system. You can be sure that our carriers will have such "umbrellas" of their own (if not already).

Even if a future enemy is able to take out one or two, we still have 10 others and the ability to build new ones faster than any other nation. In the meantime, we will destroy with our other assets whatever navy they have.

49 posted on 12/18/2002 9:03:33 AM PST by SamAdams76
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To: Junior
Ike bites

USS Eisenhower 1983 - 1987 Reactor Mechanical Division
50 posted on 01/07/2003 12:57:12 PM PST by P8riot
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