Mike Curtiss (25
Moved into Place"
Lincoln has always been stationed in the Pacific Ocean. I didn't
think the vision was possible, which made me feel much better
about the validity of the horrific carnage I witnessed in 1995.
I chalked it up to too much of a vivid imagination. That was
until the recent military cut backs. The USS Lincoln was
suddenly moved to CENTCOM and based in the Atlantic!!!! The
Lincoln Carrier Battle Group actually transited the Straights of
Hormuz earlier this week. Iran said another such movement would
create a state of war between the US and Iran. Right on time for
1/28/2012 or Pentecost 2012 should the Lord Jesus due to His
mercy tarry in His vineyard.
of you seen a carrier struck by missiles in a dream, or vision?
Thanks, God Bless You,
No Relief in Sight for the USS Lincoln
Thursday, January 27, 2005
It has been three weeks since my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln,
arrived off the Sumatran coast to aid the hundreds of thousands
of victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami that ravaged their coastline.
I’d like to say that this has been a rewarding experience for
us, but it has not: Instead, it has been a frustrating and
needlessly dangerous exercise made even more difficult by the
Indonesian government and a traveling circus of so-called aid
workers who have invaded our spaces.
What really irritated me was a scene I witnessed in the
Lincoln’s wardroom a few days ago. I went in for breakfast as I
usually do, expecting to see the usual crowd of ship’s company
officers in khakis and air wing aviators in flight suits,
drinking coffee and exchanging rumors about when our ongoing
humanitarian mission in Sumatra is going to end.
What I saw instead was a mob of civilians sitting around like
they owned the place. They wore various colored vests with logos
on the back including Save The Children, World Health
Organization and the dreaded baby blue vest of the United
Mixed in with this crowd were a bunch of reporters, cameramen
and Indonesian military officers in uniform. They all carried
cameras, sunglasses and fanny packs like tourists on their way
My warship had been transformed into a floating hotel for a
bunch of trifling do-gooders overnight.
As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the
U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a
sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something
along the lines of “Nice china, really makes me feel special,”
in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates
It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and
choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off
paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have
more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact
that he had no business being there in the first place.
My attitude towards these unwanted no-loads grew steadily worse
that day as I learned more from one of our junior officers who
was assigned to escort a group of them. It turns out that they
had come to Indonesia to “assess the damage” from the Dec. 26
Well, they could have turned on any TV in the world and seen
that the damage was total devastation. When they got to Sumatra
with no plan, no logistics support and no five-star hotels to
stay in, they threw themselves on the mercy of the U.S. Navy,
which, unfortunately, took them in. I guess our senior brass was
hoping for some good PR since this was about the time that the
U.N. was calling the United States “stingy” with our relief
As a result of having to host these people, our severely
over-tasked SH-60 Seahawk helos, which were carrying tons of
food and water every day to the most inaccessible places in and
around Banda Aceh, are now used in great part to ferry these
“relief workers” from place to place every day and bring them
back to their guest bedrooms on the Lincoln at night. Despite
their avowed dedication to helping the victims, these relief
workers will not spend the night in-country, and have made us
their guardians by default.
When our wardroom treasurer approached the leader of the relief
group and asked him who was paying the mess bill for all the
meals they ate, the fellow replied, “We aren’t paying, you can
try to bill the U.N. if you want to.”
In addition to the relief workers, we routinely get tasked with
hauling around reporters and various low-level “VIPs,” which
further wastes valuable helo lift that could be used to carry
supplies. We had to dedicate two helos and a C-2 cargo plane for
America-hater Dan Rather and his entourage of door holders and
briefcase carriers from CBS News. Another camera crew was from
MTV. I doubt if we’ll get any good PR from them, since the cable
channel is banned in Muslim countries. We also had to dedicate a
helo and crew to fly around the vice mayor of Phoenix, Ariz.,
one day. Everyone wants in on the action.
As for the Indonesian officers, while their job is apparently to
encourage our leaving as soon as possible, all they seem to do
in the meantime is smoke cigarettes. They want our money and our
help but they don’t want their population to see that Americans
are doing far more for them in two weeks than their own
government has ever done or will ever do for them.
To add a kick in the face to the USA and theLincoln, the
Indonesian government announced it would not allow us to use
their airspace for routine training and flight proficiency
operations while we are saving the lives of their people, some
of whom are wearing Osama bin Ladin T-shirts as they grab at our
food and water. The ship has to steam out into international
waters to launch and recover jets, which makes our helos have to
fly longer distances and burn more fuel.
What is even worse than trying to help people who totally reject
everything we stand for is that our combat readiness has
suffered for it.
An aircraft carrier is an instrument of national policy and the
big stick she carries is her air wing. An air wing has a set of
very demanding skills and they are highly perishable. We train
hard every day at sea to conduct actual air strikes, air
defense, maritime surveillance, close air support and many other
missions – not to mention taking off and landing on a ship at
Our safety regulations state that if a pilot does not get a
night carrier landing every seven days, he has to be
re-qualified to land on the ship. Today we have pilots who have
now been over 25 days without a trap due to being unable to use
Indonesian airspace to train. Normally it is when we are at sea
that our readiness is at its very peak. Thanks to the Indonesian
government, we have to waive our own safety rules just to get
our pilots off the deck.
In other words, the longer we stay here helping these people,
the more dangerous it gets for us to operate. We have already
lost one helicopter, which crashed in Banda Aceh while taking
sailors ashore to unload supplies from the C-130s. There were no
relief workers on that one.
I’m all for helping the less fortunate, but it is time to give
this mission to somebody other than the U.S. Navy. Our ship was
supposed to be home on Feb. 3 and now we have no idea how long
we will be here. American taxpayers are spending millions per
day to keep this ship at sea and getting no training value out
of it. As a result, we will come home in a lower state of
readiness than when we left due to the lack of flying while
supporting the tsunami relief effort.
I hope we get some good PR in the Muslim world out of it. After
all, this is Americans saving the lives of Muslims. I have my
Ed Stanton is the pen name of a career U.S. Navy officer
currently serving with the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike
group. Send Feedback responses to email@example.com