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One day out of Pearl

We slow to thirteen knots

Along our starboard (right) side,
The USNS Rainier replenishment ship approaches
Slowly coming almost bow to bow with us

Both ships fight each other’s wake between them
Keeping the distance constant
Maintaining a 170 feet (a mere 15 yards) separation
In rolling seas!!

A “shot” (thin strong red nylon line tied to a large rubber bullet)
fired to the Rainier from the Lincoln

Shot is pulled in
Attached to a “messenger line”
Then to the “span wires” brought back to the Lincoln

Replenishment hoses ride along the span wires
Are brought aboard the Lincoln
Their “probes” inserted into the fuel ports on “Abe”

Over two hours, fuel lines carry and deposit 1.5 million
gallons of JP5 aircraft fuel into Abe’s tanks

As fuel rushes through the hoses, we watch the Rainier
visibly rise in the sea,
Progressively lighter with the loss of fuel

(I watch this from the hangar bay in complete awe
Filming this…
And cannot believe what I am witnessing)

Like clock work at both ends
No room for error
…Nothing but steady calm and precision

“The Penny”
“The USS Abraham Lincoln”
“CVN-72” (Carrier, Fixed Wing Aircraft, Nuclear)
(“V” a World War II designation for aircraft)

Except for aircraft fuel, food and some other supplies,
She is an independent, self sufficient city afloat

Truly amazing!

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