A Sea Story
The U.S. Navy was among the first responders on 9/11. Entrusted with the
iconic Ground Zero flag, the Roosevelt battlegroup took to the seas searching
out those responsible, and to bring justice to a nation in mourning.
1145 September 2001, the U.S.S. Leyte Gulf deployed within hours of the
attack on the W.T.C. with orders to shoot down and destroy any "birds not
squawking" over New York City. We were entrusted with the Ground Zero flag
raised by the NYFD. We flew that flag with pride and determination from our
mast on our important mission. After two days we were then redirected to the
gulf and given orders to destroy the Taliban with the Tomahawk missiles
onboard. During transit, we were told by our Captain that the Taliban would
be waiting for us in the narrow Suez canal. So narrow in fact, only a single
ship can go through at any one time. If the first and last ship were to be
hit by surface to air missiles, there would be no way out. The aircraft
carrier U.S.S Roosevelt, would be trapped in the middle and defenseless.
There they were, waiting for us on horseback atop the sandy Suez
dunes...following us. Just a bunch of scared kids manning the ships 50 cal
guns, wondering what was to happen next.
One late night in the gulf, Bush declared war. It was our task to launch the
first Tomahawk missiles and kick off the war on terror. We were cut off from
the outside world. Email and any other means of communication had been banned
for security reasons. Television reports of Anthrax gripping the country with
fear and WW3 rumors scuttling through the ships decks. A six man boarding
party manned up to routinely search an unresponding suspect Iraqi
tanker...what was found would change our lives forever.
This is our sea story.
A Sea Story tells the story of the experiences of what it was like immediately after 9/11, what the Navy was ordered to do to strike back from a first hand enlisted mans account. Pignataro literally had his finger on the launch button of the highly accurate and deadly tomahawk missile.
This is a story that may not have been told except that he kept a journal of what happened daily and from this record comes "A Sea Story." This is worth reading for anyone interested in history and to get an understanding of what it is like aboard a warship.
The Navy is often used as the first response for our country. Ships manned by kids, facing dangers most cannot comprehend. President Bush declared war and he and his shipmates moved into the gulf to do whatever was needed. No outside communication is allowed, families at home often know more than those aboard the ship and that does not help quell the fear of the unknown.
Reviewed by: Jim Greenwald (2012)