Another e-mail worth sharing:
All these people accusing Bush of grandstanding are know-nothing schlubs. Most of what they know about the military they got from watching J.A.G. on TV. I was in the Navy and had occasion to land on the U.S.S. Kennedy once. It was one of the most frightening things I ever did. The pilot literally crashes the plane intentionally on the deck and at the point of impact jams the throttle to full power. A hook grabs a steel cable stretched across the deck and slams the plane down hard stopping it in about 60 feet from a speed of over 120mph. There is this tremendous impact and a huge metallic KA-BLAM!! as the plane comes down. At the same instant your spine is decompressing from hitting the deck the deceleration clobbers you too. The four point restraints cut into your shoulders so hard you wince in pain. As your forehead comes to rest on your chest if feels like your head is going to pop off your shoulders. You then slam back into the seat and immediately look out the window hoping your don’t see fire and the flight deck crew running away.
You then say to yourself or out loud, “HOLY-_____!!” and then, depending upon your upbringing, add a religious reference or a profanity to it.
I recall being very happy to get back to my “safe” job; jumping out of helicopters into storm tossed seas at night as a rescue swimmer.
The Secret Service must have gone bananas over this idea and the poor flight crew that flew with the POTUS must have been a nervous wreck knowing that the life of the President was in their hands while they crashed/landed on the carrier. You see, most of the aircraft and crews we lose in the Navy are during carrier take-offs and landings. Here is what the President probably did not know. The very best pilots in flight training get to fly combat jets. The guys who do not finish at the top have to take the remaining flight assignments in the order of their academic standing in flight school. In all likelyhood, the plane he flew in was piloted by a flight crew that did not graduate flight training at the top of their class. Not in the middle of their class either.
Everybody on that carrier gets what the President did. Everybody who ever experienced a carrier landing knows what he did…..What he did was this; He exposed himself to a very dangerous experience to show the troops that he was willing to take risks that they take everyday for low pay. Everybody on that ship got that message. It was meant for them, not us. It was by my measure a damned brave thing to do.