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February 11, 2005

If this isn't true... it should be.

Email from a friend. If this isn't true, well, it should be. Because it *is* true in a cosmic sense. It's all so neat and tidy, it probably more along the lines of Aesop's fables... but those were instructive, too, n'est ce pa?

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Jan. 22, 2005) - Sailors man the rails and render honors to the USS Arizona Memorial as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulls into Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ronald Reagan's first port visit to Hawaii is in support of Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian operation effort in the wake of the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 1st Class James Thierry

And, as a Disaster Response planner for DoD in my last job on active duty - that's *exactly* how we looked at aircraft carriers. They can also (as can numerous Naval vessels) produce a LOT of electrical power - and are purpose- built to distribute it dockside, along with the water.

Subject: Today, I was "Unprofessional"... Varifrank, January 4, 2005

Today, during an afternoon conference that wrapped up my project of the last 18 months, one of my Euro colleagues tossed this little smart-comment out to no one in particular:

"See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, there's a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier...

After which he and many of my Euro colleagues laughed out loud, and then they looked at me. I wasn't laughing, and neither was my Hindi friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.

I'm afraid I was "unprofessional", I let it loose -"Hmmm, let's see, what would be the ideal ship to send to a disaster? Now what kind of ship would we want? Something with its own inexhaustible power supply? Something that can produce 900,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water?"

"Something with its own airfield? So that after producing the fresh water, it could help distribute it? Something with 4 hospitals and lots of open space for emergency supplies? Something with a global communications facility to make the coordination of disaster relief in the region easier? Well 'Franz', we peasants in America call that kind of ship an 'Aircraft Carrier'."

"We have 12 of them. How many do you have? Oh that's right, NONE. Lucky for you and the rest of the world, we are the kind of people who share. Even with people we don't like."

In fact, if memory serves, once upon a time we peasants spent a ton of money and lives rescuing people who we had once tried to kill and who tried to kill us. Do you know who those people were? That's right Franz, Europeans."

There is a French Aircraft carrier? Where is it? Oh.. Right where it belongs! In France of course! Oh, why should the French Navy dirty their uniforms helping people on the other side of the globe. How Simplesse... The day an American has to move a European out of the way to help in some part of the world it will be a great day in the world, you sniggering little snob..."

The room fell silent. My Hindi friend then said quietly to the Euros:

"Can you let your hatred of George Bush end for just one minute? There are people dying! And what are your countries doing? has helped more than France has. You all have a role to play in the world, why can't you see that? Thank God for the US Navy, they don't have to come and help, but they are. They helped you once and you should all thank God they did. They didn't have to, and no one but them would have done so. I'm ashamed of you all..."

He left the room, shaking and in tears. The frustration of being on the other side of the globe, unable to do anything to assist and faced with people who could not set aside their asininity long enough to reach out and help was too much for him to bear. I just shook my head and left. The Euros stood speechless. Later in the break room, one of the laughing Euros caught me and extended his hand in an apology. I asked him where he was from, he said "a town outside of Berlin". He is a young man, in his early 20's. I asked him if he knew of a man named Gail Halverson. He said no. I said "that's a shame" and walked away to find my Hindi friend.

For those of you who may not remember, Gail Halverson was the transport pilot responsible for the "candy drop" during the Berlin airlift. They called him the "Candy Bomber" as he dropped goodies for all the Berlin children.

Matt Archer
Flight Operations
Transport Test Pilot

Hat tip to Mr. Greenjeans! And there, Boudicca, I found a use for your pic!

Update: Murdoc has his own take on the sujbect.

And this apparently hit the internet first, here.

John | Permalink | Comments (9) | Observations on things Military | Politics | Pugnacious Stupidity


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference If this isn't true... it should be.:

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Comments on If this isn't true... it should be.
AFSister briefed on February 11, 2005 7:39 AM

I read this on Varifrank's blog when it first happened, and HELL YEAH! was my response then too.

The carrier picture is INCREDIBLE!!!!

Cricket briefed on February 11, 2005 9:18 AM

Ditto. Phrance and Jermany want to be us, but Phrance is too tight wadded and full of anxieties
and Jermany is too ambivalent. Am I mad? Yes.
They are reduced to mocking us because they cannot, will not ever have a moral compass that motivates them to be the best.

Not only that, what will they do with all that freedom from government restraints?

spd rdr briefed on February 11, 2005 10:41 AM

Bravo Zulu, Varifrank!
The first thing I said when I heard of the magnitude of the tsunami was "the Navy is making preparations to get underway," although we didn't hear about for another day or two... when the left port. (My liberal friend was whining that we weren't doing "enough, fast enough." But when I asked her how long did she think it took to outfit a naval task force for extended sea duty she had no clue. Two freakin' days was UNBELIEVABLY fast.)

Good job, sailors.

Ranten N. Raven briefed on February 11, 2005 11:30 AM

Here's the link to the original Varifrank article:

Look about his site--Darned fine writing!

Murdoc briefed on February 11, 2005 12:40 PM

I'd like to humbly point out my response to this incident on Murdoc Online in a post entitled AMERICA AND ITS STUPID AIRCRAFT CARRIERS:

Justthisguy briefed on February 11, 2005 5:31 PM

Oh yeah. I remember reading, in a "biography" of USS Lexington written right after she went down, by someone who was present, that she provided power to the entire city of Seattle, Wash, sometime in the late 20s-early 30s. Don't forget, she prolly had more generating capacity than the modern nuke carriers, having the "electric battlecruiser" plant. (Turbo-electric)

I think she and Sara were faster than the current ones, too, though designed in 1916.

Desertmole briefed on February 12, 2005 12:48 AM

The USS Lexington provided power to the city of Tacoma, Washington from 17 Dec 1929 to 17 Jan 1930. Apparently the local power company (which generated its hydro-electric power from a local river) was unable to meet the demand due to a drought the previous summer. Lexington had turbo-electric drives and so it was easy to divert the power while she was dockside. Heavy ranis in early January 1930 mitigated the need.

Frank Martin briefed on February 12, 2005 3:06 AM

It's all true...

Sad, and true.

The offending parties are real people, the only thing I made up was the pseudonym "franz". They are actually good folks, they just get a never ending diet of anti-american press back home and they just fell into their diatribe thinking that everyone naturally thought like they did. You should have seen their reaction at the sight of so many "Bush For President" bumper stickers in our area. They were aghast to say the least! ( How can this be so!, we thought everyone hated Bush!)

I wasnt upset that they didnt like the president,hell every other person you see on the street doesnt like the president, thats not a surprise or a disappointment. What upset me was that I was always taught when you are visiting someones elses house, that you act like a guest. It just good manners.

So, if you invited into someones house and are knocked over by the wreaking stench of the urine from 100 housecats, your response should not be " Hey lady, This place smells like a whorehouse at low tide!" but rather " Why Mrs Cleaver, that IS a lovely housecoat you have on today!".

So, when you go to someone elses country and you have an opinion about their government, a good guest would keep his mouth shut till he gets home.

The truth is the euros didnt think the US had much of a military. They were under the mistaken belief that after the fall of the berlin wall and the end of the soviet union that we got rid of our military, just like most of europe did. They honestly havent been told that we have what we have. Even now they cant quite accept that we have the capability that we do. Weve had many conversations since then on the subject, and I get a kick out of it when we do.

When I told them we no longer have conscription, and have no intention of ever getting one again, they were again quite shocked. Honestly, one of them thought there was still a draft in the US! Serving voluntarily and willingly in the military is something that just does not occur to them as being possible in the modern age!

I have to say that I have a catchphrase that I use often with the euros when they get a little persnickety in a class or presentation that I'm giving. Its all good natured, I dont want you to think that every day is like an episode of OZ.

I'll ask them "Can I see a show of hands from people who are from countries who have a flag on the moon?" anyone? anyone?


The Scots laugh, the Danes laugh. The French sit and stew and the Germans say it was 'von braun' that got us there. I tell them we make a fine team, and the truth is, we do.

Anyway - I like what I see on your site. I'll be back often.

Justthisguy briefed on February 12, 2005 10:15 PM

[blushes] Uh, sorry, desertmole, Du hast recht! In my defense, may I say that I don't have the book handy, it's been a while since I've read it, and Tacoma is to Seattle as Decatur is to Atlanta.