Fasten Your Seat Belts

Mar 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Check-in at a military base for a flight to an aircraft carrier is much the same as at any civilian airport, except maybe for the rifle case among the carry-on luggage.
The ride couldn’t be more different. Wearing life jackets, protective headgear and strapped in facing backward with over-the-shoulder and lap harnesses, the first journalists to be embedded with the U.S. military for a possible war in Iraq exchanged uneasy glances as hoses crisscrossing the passenger hold of the droning C2-A Greyhound began expelling vapor.
But any fears about hissing hoses were quickly overshadowed by new ones engendered by the aerial acrobatics designed to slow the plane and set it up for landing on the carrier flight deck, the length of two football fields and dotted with parked warplanes. One, two, three sharp, banking turns in quick succession, then a stomach-turning drop and thump, the plane’s arrived.
The cargo bay doors whine open to reveal a scene reminiscent of science fiction: creatures hidden behind heavy goggles, helmets and bright-colored sweaters and some of the flight deck crew, who start hoisting bags and helping the newcomers climb down from the plane.
Welcome to the USS Kitty Hawk.
Send us your stories: If you are a reporter or a news director with correspondents overseas, send your contributions about what it’s like to be a TV journalist on the front lines to TVWwarjournals@crain.com.