SUPER CARRIER by George C. Wilson


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A piece of extended journalism depicting life on one of the great aircraft carriers during a seven month stint on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Wilson, defense correspondent for The Washington Post and author of No Return: The Ordeal of the U.S.S. Pueblo and Army in Anguish, received permission to live aboard the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy to report on the workings of a carrier and the lives of its crew. Wilson got more than he bargained for, though, as the ship became instrumental in a bombing raid off the coast of Lebanon that cost the life of a crack flyer and the imprisonment of another. What comes across here is the immensity of a carrier. Some five thousand personnel inhabit this military machine that Wilson continually compares to a town. Its enormity is given life when Wilson speculates upon the death of one of the flyers that he ""had never even known his name,"" despite living on the same ship with him for months. Apart from the tales of personal heroism and foibles, and the bow to the lonely, stoical Navy wives who wait patiently back home, Wilson leads his discussion toward attempting to improve the men's situation at sea. He recommends that carriers step up to the high-tech age by being equipped for satellite transmission of live TV shows to replace the vapid canned entertainment that the men currently have to endure. Similarly, he recommends that radio telephones be installed to relieve the men and their wives of the awful loneliness and anxiety that currently envelop them. He also pushes for a presidential or congressional committee to address the vulnerability of the supercarrier into the next century. An engrossing look at modern seafarers.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1986
Publisher: Macmillan