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USS Ronald Reagan saves stranded cruise passengers from "starvation"

Illustration for article titled USS Ronald Reagan saves stranded cruise passengers from starvation

Last Monday, the cruise ship Carnival Splendor suffered a fire in the engine room, leaving her stranded 150 nautical miles southwest of San Diego. Thankfully, the Nimitz-class supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan was around and they had lots of extra Spam cans.

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Yes, that's right. On top of having to deal with the lack of air conditioning, hot water, cellphone or—even worse—internet access, all those cruise passengers had to eat canned meat instead of stuffing their faces with buffet food! But fear not, humanity, because they also got other essential food supplies like refrigerated crab, the chicken of the seas.

The USS Ronald Reagan was in the area in a training exercise. After receiving a request from the US Coast Guard, the Commander of the United States' Third Fleet gave the order to dispatch 4,500 pounds of food using a HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter from the Black Knights Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron.

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Why did they have to divert the USS Ronald Reagan instead of having the cruise company to deal with the situation, is beyond me. It's not like the bloody ship was sinking and I'm sure the passengers could have waited a few more hours for a cargo helicopter to arrive from the shore. Or just wait for the tow ships to arrive while eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Wonder Bread.

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The Sea Hawk delivered the precious food and the passengers didn't lose a single ounce from their asses. Hopefully, the US government will charge the company for every one of those Spam cans, water bottles, and refrigerated crab boxes, plus fuel and sailor time. And then multiply the amount by two.

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Now, go to sleep. The world is in safe hands. [US Navy and Forbes]

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DISCUSSION

Ok, as a guy that's spent a few years stationed on a carrier (CVN 71, to be precise), I have a few things to add to this:

1) "having to deal with the lack of air conditioning, hot water, cellphone or—even worse—internet access"

Wow, that's every day on a carrier. Welcome to our friggin' world, cruise people. Although I suppose we are getting paid to deal with that sort of abuse on a daily basis. So there is that. But still, no sympathy.

2) If the RR was "in the area" and not in port, that means it was doing either fleet sustainment exercises (general quarters drills every day) or Carrier Qualifications (CQs). Both are extremely boring and, to 80% of the crew, a total waste of time that could be much better spent at home with their families. So, providing humanitarian assistance gives people an otherwise lacking sense of purpose, and generally makes everybody a lot happier

Back in '05, in January, we were "in the area" for our first set of cruise work-ups on the TR. It was my first time out to sea (I was a fresh young ATAN back then), and it was pretty boring until we got a distress call from a group of Canadian sailors who decided they were gonna sail from Newfoundland to Florida on a completely solar-powered sailboat. Unfortunately, they were so dedicated that they neglected to install an engine backup for their bilge pump. They ran into a huge storm at the end of the night, and - their batteries depleted - the bilge pump stopped working and they started taking on water.

I don't know how fast we were going through what was all but a hurricane, but it was at or above the carrier's published top speed through 20-30 foot swells. I mean, we were haulin'. People were getting seasick left and right, walking on bulkheads, etc... not stuff you normally do on a carrier. Destroyers, yes. 1,041ft long carriers, no.

Anyway, we traversed a fairly long distance at Warp 9 and picked up the sailors before their ship sank, much to their merriment.

I, naturally, performed my civic duty as a US Citizen and a US Navy sailor, and told them there was a Tim Horton's on the 4th deck. They were looking for it for hours! Tee hee!

Anyway, the point was, we really felt like we were doing something then. Certainly doing more than puttering around in the Atlantic in circles. And I can almost guarantee you the sailors on the RR are feeling the same way.

And I'm sure they're not sad to see all that fuckin' Spam go, either.