Sometimes I Feel Like Forrest Gump

After a 21 year military career – which hasn’t ended yet, I look back and realize how many “Forrest Gump” moments I have had. (You know, those moments when you have random brushes with major events in history?) One of my favorites was standing on the flight deck of the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) while President Bush gave his speech at the end of our ten month deployment.

That ship and it’s Sailors had just endured the longest deployment in over 30 years. I realize all the controversy surrounding that event, and I try to ignore it. For us – it was a celebration. We had accomplished OUR mission. I am not sure it was widely reported, but President Bush stayed on that flight deck LONG after the TV coverage ended. He stayed and he shook the hand of every single member of that crew, maybe 5,000 plus hands. (Some of the crew had departed previously in Hawaii.) When President Bush shook my hand, a good hour after the speech, he looked straight in my eyes and said “Thank you for all you’ve done.”  He did that to every Sailor, giving some hugs, laughing at their jokes, but definitely making a connection with each of us in some way. That day can swirl in drama through history, but for me it was an amazing day, a day that would never have happened if I didn’t decide to join the US Navy.

UPDATE:  Regarding the Mission Accomplished Banner, it was hung by the SHIP!  This was not a political statement, it was NOT placed by the Presidential Staff.  It was a message from the ship to the world, we were proud of what we had accomplished.  Our ship, the Carrier Air Wing, and associated Strike Group (and other allied Strike Groups present) were responsible for the initial barrage of Tomahawks and for “Shock and Awe”. We played a large part in taking down Saddam Hussain’s regime.  OUR MISSION WAS ACCOMPLISHED!

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7 thoughts on “Sometimes I Feel Like Forrest Gump

  1. Just a few stats from the “Mission” if anyone is interested:
    – 12,700 takeoffs and trap landings
    – 16,500 sorties (for the ten month deployment)
    – 265,118 pounds of ordnance used during Operation Enduring Freedom/OSW
    – 1.6 million pounds of ordnance used during Operation Iraq Freedom
    – 21 million gallons of JP-5 aviation fuel expended
    – 102,816 nautical miles steamed upon arrival in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
    – 80 million gallons of water produced

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  3. I wonder how the politics would have played out for Pres. Bush if this had been said by at least 2000 of the crew and had Bush’s press people had just responded ‘the ship commander put it up” Every time I read a story like this it reinforces my belief that Pres. Bush really liked and appreciated our all the troops.

    1. Kent,

      I feel the same way. I did call into a couple radio shows and tell the story back during the heat, but I am one voice. I know others felt like I did. I think Bush was human, and he actually did feel the weight of his decisions and how they impacted the military. An interesting note, there were about 350 embedded journalists onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, and many stayed to the end of the deployment. Why didn’t they report the story more truthfully? I think we know that answer.

      Thanks for checking out my site, hope you have a great day!

    1. Natalie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! Your blog is magnificent, the perfect site for girls like us! I I am glad I found you, and look forward to reading more of your info as well!

  4. I’m new to your blog and late to this party… but! I was and still am a big supporter of President Bush and very much appreciate this post. I also envy you for being where you were on that “Mission Accomplished” day and the things you did during Lincoln’s deployment. BZ to you and all your shipmates!

    I also wish there were more milbloggers on the distaff side. You do good work here, LCDR!

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