Lawrence Central Rotary’s own Chip LaClair told the story of his recent tour of the aircraft carrier the USS Harry Truman. 

Chip, his father, and his brother joined a small group of defense contractors who were flown out to the ship as it was underway in the open sea.  Chip is a pilot himself, so the experience of landing and taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier was quite dramatic for him. Chip described the tail hook landing mechanism and the launching catapult and proudly cited his Tail Hook Society membership credentials. 

Chip was impressed with the professionalism of the crew and commented on the challenge of training and managing such a large and diverse crew on extended deployments.  Chip shared souvenirs and photographs of his memorable experience.

The USS Harry Truman was built at a cost of 4.5 billon dollars and commissioned in 1998. It is taller than a 24-story building and can accommodate a crew of more than 5,000.  The vessel carries 90 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and has a 1,096 foot by 257 foot flight deck.  Two nuclear generators power the ship, and it can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. 

The USS Harry Truman is the flagship of Strike Group Eight, which is a group of war ships that can project military power around the globe for the interests of the United States.   The ship has seen action in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf and provided hurricane relief in the Gulf of Mexico. Its home port is Norfolk, Virginia.