It was a couple of weeks before the 200th birthday of the ship’s namesake, and I had asked a selection of the crew to read aloud the 16th president’s most famous speech for a Time.com video.
I printed the words of the Gettysburg Address in large type on four cards and had them laminated. The cards would fit under a portable teleprompter that attached to my camera lens so we didn’t need electrical power. David and I were fully mobile and roamed the ship, meeting various members of its 5,000-strong crew, from the lowest ranked sailors to the top brass.
With our cameras we captured the ship at work as the carrier strike group preformed drills on the Pacific ocean about 100 miles off the coast of California. The eponymous function of an aircraft carrier is not just to carry aircraft, but to maintain them, repair them and, in some of the most stunning and exciting operations I’ve ever filmed, launch and recover these multi-ton airframes safely on a mere 4.5 acres of surface.
My piece would mix the recitation of Lincoln’s immortal words, paired with the dynamic work being done on board the carrier. It was a birthday gift to one of our greatest leaders.