Nimitz Class

Nimitz Class by Patrick Robinson Read Free Book Online

Book: Nimitz Class by Patrick Robinson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick Robinson
entering her patrol zone in the Arabian Sea. Deep blue waters, shark-infested, some 450 miles due west of the teeming seaport of Bombay.
    Admiral Carson was due on station in those tense, somewhat unpredictable seas eight days from now. His massive presencethere, at the very gateway to the Gulf of Iran, served as a warning to all who might challenge the right of the world’s tankers to ply their trade along the sprawling crude oil terminals which stretch from the Strait of Hormuz to Iraq. His presence would also, unavoidably, deepen the already simmering hatred toward the United States by much of the Islamic nation. But that goes with the territory of a Battle Group Commander. And the six-foot-four-inch Kansan Zack Carson, at the age of fifty-six, had long since accepted that not everyone flew a flag of pure joy when his giant ship hove into sight along the horizons of the Middle East.
    At his command were cruise missiles, guided weapons of all types to attack targets above, on, and under the water, a small all-purpose Air Force, whole batteries of artillery, to send in thousands of shells per hour. And stored deep in the bowels of this great ship, and in his two nuclear submarines, other missiles—missiles of such colossal destructive force, not even Zack Carson was comfortable contemplating the consequences of deploying them. The admiral, and his masters in the Pentagon, could, if instructed, damn nearly destroy much of the world. In very short order.
    That was not an actual part of his plan, but a U.S. Battle Group must, at all times, be right at the peak of the warfare efficiency curve, which heads steeply upward according to the value of the hardware. The view of the Chiefs of Staff, not to mention the hard-nosed Southwestern Republican currently occupying the White House, was, broadly, “at that price it better work, and it better work real good, right on time, no bullshit.”
    Thus, at this particular moment, in deep conversation with his fellow Kansan, Captain Jack Baldridge, Admiral Carson was making doubly sure that the previous month’s intense battle training programs had transformed this ship, and all of the six thousand men who sailed in her, into the best it was possible to be. From the cooks to the navigators, from the sonar men to the guys in the print room, from the firefighters to the fighter pilots, the radar wizards to the missile loaders—the Battle Group commander could afford no weak link in his chain of command, no suspect system, no indecisive officer,zero inefficiency. This was the very frontier of warfare, the bottom line of the U.S. offense and defensive charter. The admiral, reverting easily to the more relaxed vernacular of the prairies, often reminded his closest staff officers in the following way, “A long time before the buck comes to a stop in the Oval Office, someone’s gonna shove it right up my rear end.”
    For weeks on end, the admiral had driven the entire Battle Group to the heights of their abilities. Twice a day he sent out communications detailing exercises which ultimately involved all sixteen thousand of the men serving in the dozen ships in the group.
    There was endless training for the Aegis missile cruisers—training which ensured they really could knock out any incoming missiles, even traveling at twice the speed of sound.
    The submarine commanders, ranging far out in front of the Battle Group, were made firmly aware of the admiral’s special interest in their work. He believed not only in the offensive capability of these search-and-strike underwater killers—but in their critical role as the group’s frontline anti-submarine weapon; the destroyer of their own counterparts. After several weeks out here, practicing and patrolling endlessly in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean, the phrase “deadly accurate” really did apply to all of their systems, but especially the lethal wire-guided torpedoes, equally effective against ship or submarine.
    Zack Carson, a

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