VIDEO: So close to jets, the roar shook our bodies
EARLIER this week, The Morning Bulletin photographer Allan Reinikka and journalist Kerri-Anne Mesner were flown to spend a couple of hours on USS Ronald Reagan.
USS Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003 and has been forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, since October 2015.
The ship is named after the 40th US president and carries the motto "Peace Through Strength", a recurrent theme during Reagan's presidency, which continues to resonate in our current maritime environment.
The ship carries F-18 Hornets, EA-18 G Growlers, E-2 Hawkeye, MH-60 R/S Seahawk and C-2 Greyhounds.
This week, USS Ronald Reagan hosted Rockhampton media, flown out on a US Navy C-2 Greyhound aircraft that lands at about 250km/h and takes off in a catapult launch going from zero to 205km/hr in about three seconds.
The tour of USS Ronald Reagan included a museum dedicated to the former US president, but the highlight was being on the flight deck to watch a handful of jets - EA-18 G Growlers and FA-18 Super Hornets - take off and land.
The roar of the engines shook bodies as planes sped off the ship, leaving a trail of heat behind them.
Above the flight deck, a handful of people manage and monitor the movement of the planes using what they call a 'ouija board', featuring miniature versions of each aircraft with their call numbers on them, with pieces spread across two levels - one for the flight deck and one for the hangar bays.