Naval Air: November 5, 2002


Despite being the oldest (entered service in 1962) nuclear powered carrier in the navy, the USS Enterprise, managed to recover aircraft over 14,000 times without a single case of equipment failure or unavailability. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in the late 1990s, when a shortage of spare parts, and sailors, led to frequent equipment failures and low readiness. Carrier landings, particularly those done at night ("night traps") depend on dozens of shipboard systems to function reliably at the same time. One reason the navy is achieving the high readiness levels is because there's a war going on and the sailors are pumped. It's easy for civilians to underestimate this morale factor, but it makes a big difference. High morale and sense of purpose also works outside the military. When the World Trade Center towers came down in September 11, 2001, construction experts consulted their planning databases (information on past jobs) and estimated it would take two or three years and several billion dollars to clean up the mess. The workers on the job were pumped, and got the job done in less than a year, at a cost of $700 million. The number of injuries were lower than normal for a job that size, and not one worker was killed.. Never underestimate morale. 




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