Friday, January 07, 2005
USS Abraham Lincoln
W. Thomas Smith, in his article Angels With Rotary Wings points out something that isn't being taken into consideration by most of those frantic about doing something to help the victims of the recent Indian Ocean tsunami: those people who were some of the first on the scene, and doing the most to help the victims, were members of the United States military. Surprise, surprise.
The centerpiece of this effort is an aircraft carrier battlegroup. The American Navy has lots of helicopters, and when deailing with a large-scale humanitarian crisis, helicotpers are the prefered method of transportation, evacuation, supply, and support. As soon as the US Navy realized what sort of disaster occured in the Indian Ocean, a carrier battle group was immediately dispatched to provide whatever aid and comfort possible. Also, an amphibious warfare battle group was also sent, who's flagship is a large helicopter carrier!
Together, all these ships, planes, helicotpers, men and supplies represents tens of BILLIONS of dollars in equipment and resources, all working solely for the aid and comfort of the tsunami surviors.
This terrible disaster is an excellent demonstration of the power and usefulness of an aircraft carrier. One of the most awesome and expensive weapons of war is now being used--and quite sucessfully at that--to bring aid and comfort to a hurting people. A floating airport of helicopters! But air support isn't it's only contribution: the shipboard water purification plant is being used to create 400,000 gallons of water each day; a critical function when local water supplies have been contaminated. Of course this isn't the first time an American aircraft carrier has been used for humanitarian purposes, but this disaster, because of it's wide scope and nearness to coastal areas, showcases the charitable contributions of seapower unlike any other.
It is only fitting that the lead flagship of the carrier battlegroup is the aircraft carrier named the USS Abraham Lincoln.