More female sailors are deploying to the Persian Gulf to fight in the war on terror. One of those women has the vital job of coordinating the fight in the air as a pilot on the USS Harry S. Truman.
CNN’s Brooke Baldwin boarded the aircraft carrier and talked with the lieutenant commander about if the latest terror attacks has affected her mission.
This is the U.S. Navy’s front line of the war on terror in the Persian gulf.
Lieutenant Commander Kate Batten deployed two weeks after the Paris terror attacks and her resolve only deepened after the recent bloodshed in Brussels.
“That is exactly why we’re out here. If anything it just gives us that much more purpose and resolve to ensure that we’re doing things the right way and that we leave this region better than we found it,” she says.
When you put on your flight gear, what does that feel like?
“It’s interesting because it’s a routine now. It’s something I do every day, so a lot of times I don’t think about it. But when I sit back and think, what does this really mean, it’s I don’t know– it kind of, I still get goosebumps every time I take a catapult off.”
Operation Inherent Resolve is by no means a man’s mission. Batten represents a growing number of female sailors deployed throughout Carrier Strike Group 8.
She’s the senior female aviator on this hulking aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman, full of fighter jets ready to strike ISIS.
Batten flies an E-2, protecting those jets. Her aircraft, one of the most essential for carrier operations, acts like air traffic control in the skies above Iraq.
For those pilots who are getting the coordinates to drop the bomb, how seriously do they take their jobs?
“We do meticulous planning every day for whatever mission we’re performing and I know they don’t take the responsibility lightly,” Batten says.
Orchestrated, coordinated attacks happening in the west. Is that frustrating to you — discouraging, given everything happening out here in the gulf?”
Rear Admiral Bret Batchelder says “I would say it’s disappointing that we have human beings that would do that to other human beings. On the other hand it is motivating and assuring that the mission that we’re on is very righteous.”
What does ultimately success or victory look like?
“I think it looks like violent extremism being eradicated. I don’t know that we achieve that on this deployment,” Batchelder says.