It takes more
than atoms to
fuel this carrier
The USS Abraham LincolnBy Dean Sensui
steams on human power
It's the centerpiece of the Navy's fleet.
Aircraft carriers embody the long reach of US foreign policy, the "big stick" of its worldwide mobile military forces.
The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln spent the last several weeks in Hawaiian Waters for the RIMPAC 2000 exercises. Its crew was honing the skills needed to work in coordination with other nations in the Pacific.
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It takes a million dollars a day to run each of these nuclear-powered vessels. With 5000 crewmembers aboard to run and maintain more than 70 aircraft, the logistics required to fuel and supply these ships are the equivalent of running a small city.
But aside from the sophisticated electronics, the high-powered attack aircraft, long-range missles and smart bombs, there's one thing this ship simply couldn't operate without...
... and that's dinner.
Food Service Officer Bob Struckman says that a feeding a large ship means having an equally large grocery bill.
Assistant Watch Captain Paris Johnson has been in the Navy for 20 years. He dosen't mind the hard work of feeding the crew, but he's now nearing retirement.
Although the ship features seven mess halls, it still means that enlisted personnel have to wait in line for each meal. And the lines are long, extending beyond the mess deck and up into the hangar bay above. The crew learns to cope with the routine.
(Sara Servis interview)
(Adam Howe interview)
And all things considered, the crew says the food isn't that bad.
(Willie Mendoza interview)
Napoleon once said that an army travels on its stomach. Even in this day of modern warfare, so does the Navy.
This is Dean Sensui, reporting for Starbulletin dot com.