The first photo on the right is one of my favorites. I can't think of a prettier site than a U.S. Navy ship with her proud crew standing topside — unless, of course, it is a Navy or Air Force F/A-18 Super Hornet with the sun glinting on her wings, or a speeding Coast Guard cutter, or a Marine standing watch, or an advancing Army battalion ... I think you get my point. In the months since 9-11, 80,000 Americans have deployed in the fight against terrorism. Through these difficult months Combatant Commanders have repeatedly praised the bravery of military members across the Services. When questioned about the "toughness" of the younger generation of warfighters top military leadership and Combatant Commanders alike express pride and awe at the dedication and self-sacrifice of today's servicemembers. They are eager to defend freedom — and embrace the latest in C2 and C4ISR innovations. In this issue we explore some of the new technologies that will arm our warfighters in the battle for freedom.
At the USNI Warfare Exposition and Symposium, Oct. 2002, I had the privilege of briefly meeting retired Navy Lt. Kevin Schaeffer who sustained serious life threatening injuries and burns on 40 percent of his body when the Navy Command Center where he worked exploded in a ball of fire after terrorists flew a hijacked airliner into the southwestern wedge of the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001. Meeting Lt. Schaeffer was a revelation for me. He said he doesn't consider himself to be a hero, rather he says he is a survivor. Lt. Schaeffer said the real heroes today are U.S. servicemembers fighting the war on terrorism.
Our heroes risk their lives 24x7, they aren't faceless or nameless — they are our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children, neighbors, friends and fellow Americans. We must arm America's best and bravest with the very latest in technology and warfare capability — they deserve nothing less.