In the early 1980s, the Reagan Administration was looking to fund high visibility defense programs. President Ronald Reagan had been elected on a platform of rebuilding the armed services after the “hollowing out” of the early 1970s.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is objectively not the most nimble vehicle in the Pentagon’s arsenal. At 1,092 feet long, 252 feet wide and nearly 1,000 tons of naval engineering expertise, the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier wasn’t designed to chase Russian submarines or blow up Somali pirates, but to serve as a floating hub for American airpower across the planet. Its motto of “shall not perish,” culled from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, is no wishful thinking: the Lincoln wasn’t just built to fight, but endure.