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Aircraft Carriers: Vital to Air Power

July 3, 2013

060618-N-8492C-276When he served in the United States Marine Corps, David Missita worked in the field of aircraft recovery; he assumed responsibility for assisting the safe take-off and landing of jet fighters on aircraft carriers.

Carriers solve one of the persistent challenges of modern warfare: locating air bases close enough to be effective in combat. While many nations do not allow the U.S. to launch aircraft from their soil, carriers can take their planes virtually anywhere on the oceans. Currently the U.S. maintains six carrier groups around the world.

A flight crew, such as the one David Missita belonged to, can launch or recover an aircraft in 25 seconds. The action on the flight deck, the runway of the ship, is fast, intense, and dangerous. One false step near a jet with engines running can hurl a crewman into the ocean. Landing on a carrier involves the use of a tailhook to snag an aircraft in the short space of the flight deck.

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