Edited by Gerald Boerner
Ronald Reagan will be remembered as the United States President who did his best to bring the Cold War to an end. He supported a strong military that could stand up to the Soviet Union, especially to its General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev. His discussions with Gorbachev lead to a lessoning of tensions between the two Superpowers. Reagan was also well-known for his use of some questionable schemas to fund his favorite projects.
One needs to admire his adherence to his conservative values. These often made him unpopular with those holding more liberal and centrist political views. But his confrontations with guerrilla forces trying to take control of several third-world countries served to counter these movements.
For his support of military actions was rewarded by being the first living President to have a Navy vessel, the USS Ronald Reagan, named after him while still alive. This Nimitz-class supercarrier was launched after a ceremony at which Nancy Reagan broke the Champaign bottle on the bow.
“The Nimitz-class supercarriers are a class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in service with the United States Navy. With an overall length of 1,092 ft (333 m) and full-load displacements of over 100,000 long tons, they are the largest capital ships in the world. Instead of the gas turbines or diesel-electric systems used for propulsion on many modern warships, the carriers use two A4W pressurized water reactors which drive four propeller shafts and can produce a maximum speed of over 30 knots (56 km/h) and maximum power of around 260,000 shp (190 MW).” (Wikipedia)
Its time to take a closer look at this supercarrier’s construction and deployment… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
[ 2960 Words ]
Quotations Related to SHIPS:
“A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”
— Thomas Carlyle
“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
— Grace Hopper
“A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”
— Herman Melville
“A sailing ship is no democracy; you don’t caucus a crew as to where you’ll go anymore than you inquire when they’d like to shorten sail.”
— Sterling Hayden
“And you have to remember that I came to America as an immigrant. You know, on a ship, through the Statue of Liberty. And I saw that skyline, not just as a representation of steel and concrete and glass, but as really the substance of the American Dream.”
— Daniel Libeskind
“Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.”
— John Calvin
“The books that help you most are those which make you think that most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.”
— Pablo Neruda
“The conservative movement today is like that tall ship with its proud captain: strong, accomplished but veering off course into the dangerous and uncharted waters of big government republicanism.”
— Mike Pence
US Navy: USS Ronald Reagan Commissioned in 2003…
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the service of the United States Navy. The ninth ship of her class, she is named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan, President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Upon her christening in 2001, she was the first ship to be named for a former president still living at the time.
The design of Ronald Reagan’s seal was created… Four gold stars represent President Reagan’s 40th presidency and his four pillars of freedom: individual liberty; economic opportunity; global democracy; and national pride. “Peace through Strength” was a recurring theme of the President’s life in public service. The aircraft carrier is positioned by the West Coast, representing President Reagan’s two terms as Governor of California and the ship’s homeport in the Pacific Fleet. The three aircraft with their patriotic contrails symbolize the three major military operations the President directed during his tenure: Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada/1983); Operation El Dorado Canyon (Libya/1986); and Operation Praying Mantis (Iran/1988). The view of the globe signifies the President’s vision of global democracy, and the center is the United States representing the country’s national pride. Colors of red, white and blue dominate the seal reflecting the American flag.
Design and Construction
The contract to build Reagan was awarded to Northrop Grumman Newport News and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia on 8 December 1994, and her keel was laid down on 12 February 1998. The budget for the ship had to be increased several times and ultimately $4.5 billion was spent on her construction. This included a redesigned ship island. Reagan was christened by Reagan’s wife Nancy on 4 March 2001 at Newport News Shipbuilding, the crew moved aboard on 30 October 2002, and the ship was commissioned on 12 July 2003 at Naval Station Norfolk, with Captain J. W. Goodwin in command. Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney were both present at the ceremony, as well as Nancy Reagan, who gave the ship’s crew the traditional first order as an active unit of the Navy: "Man the ship and bring her to life." Ronald Reagan made her maiden voyage on 21 July 2003. President Reagan, who did not attend either the launch or the commissioning due to Alzheimer’s disease, died eleven months later. At the end of the graveside services, the ship’s commanding officer at that time, Captain James Symonds, presented the flag that draped the former president’s casket to Mrs. Reagan at her request. This was also the flag that had flown over Capitol Hill on 20 January 1981, when the president was inaugurated. At a later date, Captain Symonds also presented Mrs. Reagan the flag that had been flying over Ronald Reagan when the former president died.
Ronald Reagan conducted her maiden port visit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from 11–14 November 2003.
After a five-month post shakedown availability (PSA), Reagan received flight deck certification on 8 May 2004, and then began her transit from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., around Cape Horn, South America, to her new homeport of Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. Carrier Air Wing Eleven, which is normally assigned to USS Nimitz, embarked only 25 percent of its total strength for the transit. The squadrons making the transit were VFA-14 and VFA-41 flying the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, VAW-117 flying the E-2C Hawkeye 2000, HS-6 flying the SH-60F Seahawk and VRC-30 flying the C-2A Greyhound. The ship transited the Strait of Magellan on 20–21 June and made port visits to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Valparaiso, Chile, and Callao, Peru before arriving in San Diego on 23 July 2004.
2006 Maiden Deployment
USS Ronald Reagan departed San Diego on 4 January 2006, on her maiden deployment to conduct naval operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as to conduct maritime security operations (MSO) in the Persian Gulf. The ship entered the Gulf on 22 February 2006, and returned from deployment on 6 July 2006.
2007 Surge Deployment
USS Ronald Reagan and the Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed North Island, Coronado in San Diego on 27 January 2007 on an unscheduled surge deployment to the Western Pacific, fulfilling the role of the forward deployed carrier Kitty Hawk while it underwent maintenance in Japan. On 20 April 2007, Ronald Reagan and her CSG returned to Coronado. The "surge deployment" was part of the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan (FRP), which provides the U.S. with the ability to respond to any global commitment with flexible and sustainable forces and the ability to rapidly respond to a range of situations on short notice.
In January 2007, it was announced that Ronald Reagan had earned the 2006 Commander Naval Air Force, Pacific Carrier Battle Efficiency “E” award for the West Coast, the first Battle "E” ever for the carrier. On 28 January 2006, an F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter attempting a night landing aboard Reagan crashed into the ship’s flight deck about 200 km (120 miles) southeast of Brisbane, Australia. The aircraft struck the ramp at a low angle, caught fire and skidded overboard. The pilot ejected safely, but the aircraft was lost.
Reagan returned to Naval Air Station North Island on 20 April 2007, following the three-month deployment in support of operations in the Western Pacific.
On 15 December 2007, the carrier answered a distress call from a cruise ship off the coast of Baja California. An Illinois teenager whose appendix had ruptured while on a Mexican cruise was airlifted by an SH-60 helicopter to Ronald Reagan, where an emergency appendectomy was performed by the ship’s surgeon.
USS Ronald Reagan, with CVW-14 embarked, departed San Diego on 19 May 2008, for a scheduled 7th Fleet and 5th Fleet deployment.
The Reagan Carrier Strike Group performed humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Philippines on 24 June 2008 after that country was devastated by Typhoon Fengshen, killing hundreds from the central island regions and the main island of Luzon. The typhoon also capsized the passenger ferry MV Princess of the Stars. Working in support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Reagan and her escorts of Carrier Strike Group 7 focused their efforts on the island of Panay in the Central Visayas. For eight days, SH-60 Seahawk helicopters and C-2A Greyhound aircraft of the Ronald Reagan Strike Group helped deliver more than 519,000 lbs. of rice, fresh water and other supplies to areas of Panay, which were not reachable via truck due to flooded roads. The mission in Panay would earn the entire strike group the Navy’s Humanitarian Service Medal.
The Strike Group arrived in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area on 28 August 2008, where she launched more than 1,150 sorties into Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Reagan returned to San Diego on 25 November 2008.
USS Ronald Reagan received word in February 2009 that the ship had won its second Battle Effectiveness Award.
On May 28, 2009, Reagan deployed with Carrier Air Wing 14 to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. Reagan relieved the Eisenhower CSG and launched its first sorties in support of OEF on 6 July. Reagan returned to homeport on 21 October after a five-month deployment.
In early 2010, Reagan was awarded the 2009 Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety "S" Award. and the 2009 Pacific Fleet Battle "E" for combat efficiency. The Battle "E" award was Reagan‘s second consecutive and third in four years.
The "Reagan" participated in the RIMPAC during the summer of 2010
In November 2010, Reagan provided emergency supplies and assistance to passengers stranded aboard the Carnival Splendor, which was rendered inoperable in the Pacific Ocean by an engine fire.
On 11 March 2011, Reagan was in the Korean peninsula region for a long-planned exercise off Korea, but was redirected towards Japan to provide support after the massive 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The ship, stationed off Sendai, was used as a floating refueling station for Japanese military and coast guard helicopters flying relief missions in the area. US Navy helicopters also flew relief missions from the carrier. On 14 March 2011, the ship was forced to relocate to avoid a radioactive plume from the Fukushima I nuclear accidents which had irradiated 17 crewmembers of three helicopter crews. On March 23, the Reagan’s crew conducted a radiation decontamination operation to remove any further radiation hazards from the ship, which included scrubbing down any surface that could have been contaminated, including the flight deck and aircraft.
On 4 April 2011, Japan’s minister of defense, Toshimi Kitazawa, accompanied by US ambassador to Japan John Roos, visited the ship to thank its crew for its assistance as part of Operation Tomodachi. Said Kitazawa, "I have never been more encouraged by and proud of the fact that the United States is our ally.
Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons. The U.S. Navy currently has 11 such ships. In comparison, a few countries operate medium carriers of around 40,000 tons (such as Charles de Gaulle), whereas light carriers closer to 20,000 tons (such as HMS Illustrious) are more typical. Supercarriers are the largest warships ever built.
The first ship to be described by The New York Times as a supercarrier was HMS Ark Royal in 1938; with a length of 685 ft and a displacement of 22,000 tons, it was designed to carry 72 aircraft. In 1943, the superlative was transferred to the 45,000-ton carriers of the Midway class, as a step-up from the 27,000-ton Essex class. The post-war standard for supercarriers was set by the proposed USS United States and USS Forrestal.
Forrestal displaced 60,000 tons standard, and 78,000 tons in deep load, when launched, and is considered the first operational supercarrier in the present-day sense, as dubbed by the American press. The similarly-sized United States would have been in service earlier, had it been completed; its cancellation triggered the "Revolt of the Admirals".
The Soviet Union’s 85,000-ton nuclear carrier Ulyanovsk, closely comparable in size to earlier American supercarriers, was 40% complete when it and a follow-on vessel were canceled in 1991, due to post-Cold War funding cuts.
The United States is no longer alone in building supercarriers, with the United Kingdom building two 65,600-ton carriers Queen Elizabeth class, and France considering building one vessel, possibly based on the same design. These ships are routinely referred to as supercarriers by British legislators and the media. The two Queen Elizabeth class vessels will provide the Royal Navy with capabilities much closer to United States Navy carriers than its current Invincible class vessels. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee, the then First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West explained that interoperability with the United States Navy was as much a deciding factor of the size of the carriers as the firepower of the carrier’s airwing:
I have talked with the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) in America. He is very keen for us to get these because he sees us slotting in with his carrier groups. He really wants us to have these, but he wants us to have the same sort of clout as one of their carriers.
Future plans for supercarriers in the United States involve the construction of the US Navy’s next generation of carriers, the Gerald R. Ford class, which will have a 100,000 ton displacement.
The United States maintains eleven of these ships. Given their vulnerability to conventional and asymmetrical threats, more and smaller carriers have been suggested over the years, such as Zumwalt’s Sea Control Ship.
However, supercarriers are considered to be more cost effective than smaller carriers.
The mobile offshore base (MOB) is a concept for a modular floating military base as large as 10 aircraft carriers. If realized, it could be moved anywhere throughout the world’s oceans, obviating the need to seek permission from allied nations for use of land bases. The concept was studied in the 1990s by the U.S. government, but was abandoned in 2001 as cost prohibitive.
Please take time to further explore more about USS Ronald Reagan, Nimitz Class
Aircraft Carrier, Nuclear Reactor Technology, Supercarrier by accessing the
Wikipedia articles referenced below. In most cases, the text in the body of this
post has been selectively excerpted from the articles; footnotes and
hyperlinks have been removed for readability…
Other Events on this Day:
King Henry VIII of England marries Catherine Parr, his sixth and final wife, at Hampton Court Palace in London, only a year after the king had his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, beheaded for treason and adultery.
A fast-riding Jane Thomas warns Patriot militia of an impending Loyalist attack at the Battle of Cedar Springs in South Carolina.
Alexander Hamilton dies a day after being shot by Vice President Aaron burr in a duel.
Congress creates the U.S. Army Medal of Honor to be awarded to soldiers for “gallantry in action”.
French electrician André Cassagnes’ popular drawing toy invention, the Etch A Sketch, is first manufactured by the Ohio Art Company in Bryan, Ohio.
Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York joins the Democratic ticket as presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale’s running mate and the first woman to run on the ticket of a major party. Days later, Mondale and Ferraro will become the party’s nominees at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.
The USS Ronald Reagan, the first aircraft carrier named for a living president, is commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia.
Dates and events based on:
William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)
Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:
Wikipedia: USS Ronald Reagan…
Wikipedia: Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier…
Wikipedia: Nuclear Reactor Technology…
Brainy Quote: SHIPS Quotes…
Other Posts on related Topics:
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: USS Langley, First U.S. Aircraft Carrier…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: The USS Missouri: the Navy’s Last Battleship Launched…