Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I had the distinct pleasure of escorting Captain Gerald Coffee, USN (Ret) on a tour of USS Abraham Lincoln while she was in port this last weekend.  Captain Coffee was a pilot whose aircraft was shot down while flying a mission in Vietnam.  He spent the next seven years as a POW until his release in 1973.
Captain Coffee was given a VIP tour of the Lincoln by Lieutenant Commander Juston Kuch, an F-18 pilot with VFA-34 the “Blue Blasters”.
The experience had a twofold effect on me.  I was grateful to be able to spend time with Captain Coffee and express my appreciation for his sacrifice in person and I was proud to see the hard work of good people like Lieutenant Commander Kuch who are still carrying out the Navy’s mission with professionalism and pride.

Captain Gerald Coffee, USN (Ret) is greeted by Captain John Alexander Commanding Officer, USS Abraham Lincoln.

Captain Coffee and guests are introduced to Lieutenant Commander Juston Kuch.

Posing next to an F-18 of VFA-34 in hangar bay 2.

Describing flight operations on the flight deck.
Lieutenant Commander Kuch and two wide-eyed future recruits.