Singletree residents are the newest ‘tailhookers’ | VailDaily.com
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Singletree residents are the newest ‘tailhookers’

Daily Staff Writer

We were flown on April 11 to the USS Theodore Roosevelt during aircraft carrier strike force exercisesDaily Staff ReportEditor’s note: Singletree residents Patti and Eddie Blender recently spent some time on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Here’s the story of their big adventure.

OFF THE COAST OF NORTH CAROLINA – We were flown on April 11 to the USS Theodore Roosevelt during aircraft carrier strike force exercises (war games) somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina.As we landed, our aircraft reduced its airspeed to 160 mph as its tail hook grabbed the cable and stopped us in less than three seconds. Whew! In a ceremony aboard – Patti and I were inducted into the “Tailhook Society” – a well-deserved honor and immortalized in certificate form! As distinguished visitors we toured every aspect of the ship’s operations and spent a night aboard in the Bull Moose Suite.

The carrier is 24 stories high and we climbed many ladders many times. If the carrier were stood on end, its height would surpass the Empire State Building.The Roosevelt is a floating city of 5,500 and it is both veteran sailors with gold on their dress blues and young 17-year-olds, away from home for the first time, who give the Roosevelt its heart and soul.We paid close attention to our guide as we spent hours on the flight deck within touching distance of the Tomcats and Hornets being catapulted off the bow. With four catapults operating simultaneously the ship was capable of launching aircraft every 45 seconds. On the stern we watched as the crew landed aircraft every minute and we saw well-trained men and women working with precision and professionalism.

When we were flown off, the catapult helped the aircraft reach 160 mph within two seconds, and we were airborne. My respect for the professionalism of this Navy ship and crew is overwhelming and over the past weeks addressing Rotary Clubs I have spoken glowingly of the experience and have especially used Paul Harris’ quote “the power of combined effort has no limitations.”Vail, Colorado


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