What are you thankfull for?

At every Thanksgiving I like to reflect over the past year and take weight as to what I am most thankful for. Commonly the answers are related to family, health a roof over my head and so forth. This year right at the top of the list is our men and women in the United States Armed Forces. Those of you who have read my blogs know that I often mention our son Tim who is an army sergeant and how proud I am of him. And as true as that is, I’m still a parent who is bragging up his kid.

Well this year I have been given a rare opportunity to see a day in the life of our service men and women aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. I promise you it was an absolutely amazing once in a lifetime experience. One of the things I was most excited about was that the Theodore Roosevelt (or the TR as it is commonly called) would be at sea with a full compliment of crew. Meaning we would have to fly out to meet them and trap land on the flight deck!! How awesome is that! We flew out aboard a C-2 Greyhound and trap landed on the flight deck and went from 140 knots to 0 in 2 seconds!! (That’s 162 miles per hour for you land lubbers). Then a reverse of the same when we left. We did 0 to 140 knots in 2 seconds! I tell you, Disney Land has nothing on these guys.

Over the course of the next two days we climbed, explored and toured 18 levels and 4.5 acres of steel. That’s 95,000 tons of floating diplomacy. From the bridge to the crew quarters, it is truly a sleepless city on the water and feat of modern naval technology. One of many highlights of the trip was the flight deck. We were no more than 40 feet from F-18’s and Super Hornets as they took off and landed. We also observed night opps from Vultures Row and watched the perfect precision and coordination between the bridge, flight operations and deck crew. It takes the combined effort of about 100 personnel to launch a single aircraft and I felt as if I was right in the middle of the filming of Top Gun.

And as impressive a the flight deck is, I am confident that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to express how impressed I am with the dedication, commitment and mostly the level of skill and responsibility that are commonplace in the daily lives of these young men and women throughout the entire ship. I’m talking about 19 & 20 year olds operating millions of dollars worth of equipment with precision and timing that would impress any employer. When I was on the bridge, there was a young women of 21 steering the ship during flight operations! I tell you their training is second to none. I wanted to bring some of them home to work for me.

I am truly impressed and thankful for all of our armed forces and their personnel and this next year, my resolution is not to take them or the youth of America for granted.

Please thank your military for all they do, travel safe and be sure to tell our advertisers that you found them in The Treasure Map.

Joe Bartman

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