July 13, 2003
"Peace Through Strength"
As president, Ronald Reagan used the United States Navy as a platform to rapidly project American power around the globe. Whether the mission was teaching Muammar Qadhafi some manners, intercepting the Achille Lauro hijackers, rescuing American students in Grenada, tapping underwater Soviet phone cables or shadowing the Soviet navy, the U.S. Navy was the centerpiece of Reagan's defense policy. By 1989 Reagan presided over a massive fleet of 600 vessels.
So it's fitting that the fleet's newest and most advanced Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier honors the commander-in-chief who transformed the U.S. Navy into an unmatched rapid-reaction force global in reach. The USS Ronald Reagan--the first naval vessel in American history named for a living president--was commissioned yesterday at a ceremony attended by Nancy Reagan. Vice President Cheney led the ceremony:
Today we send forth a great American ship bearing a great American name . . . Something tells me any potential adversary of the United States will take note when word arrives that the USS Ronald Reagan has been sighted off shore . . . He came to the presidency with a clear understanding of the tools our Navy would need to protect the American people.
And the Reagan offers a lot of protection: a crew of 6,000, a top speed of over 30 knots, a 4 1/2 acre flight deck, 1,100 feet in length, 20 stories high (and that's above the waterline!) and two nuclear reactors that require refueling once every 20 years.
The carrier's motto, aptly, is the same as the Reagan Administration's defense philosophy: "Peace Through Strength".
The Gipper would be proud.
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