(USS LAKE ERIE)
On a day filled with campaign rhetoric, Wall Street woes, and bad news stories, wasn’t it refreshing to hear about the flawlessly executed shootdown of a dying satellite by USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70)? For a moment Americans were allowed to pause and marvel at the awesome capabilities of our Navy, and share in the pride that comes with perfection.
The operation couldn’t have gone smoother, and the results couldn’t have been better. It took a couple of days to confirm that the fuel tank (the prime target) had been shattered, but by all accounts everyone on board LAKE ERIE already knew. The shot was a bull’s-eye at 153 miles above the earth.
If you know CAPT Randy Hendrickson, you know that this success is no fluke. His crews are invariably motivated, happy and prepared. He told the American Forces Press Service that LAKE ERIE practiced for a month and a half before the shootdown. “We kept working up with a team of government experts and technicians, as well as industry partners,” Hendrickson said. “By the time we did this, we had seen it a hundred times,” LCDR Drew Bates, the Weapons Systems Officer, told AFPS.
It was a great accomplishment for a ship and her crew. But beyond that, it was a shining moment for America. I doubt LAKE ERIE Sailors fully realize what their mission really meant. To the world, the operation served as a reminder of the U.S. Navy’s domination of the seas. To potential adversaries, the flawless operation highlighted our technological supremacy, and acted as a not-too-subtle admonition that we have capabilities far more advanced than many had thought.
But to Americans, LAKE ERIE’s performance reassured us that the U.S. Navy, and by extension the U.S. military, is the best the world has ever seen.
The crew members of USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70) are our heroes of the week. BZ.