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In October this year, Reuters embedded with the US Navy on board the super carrier Eisenhower in the Arabian gulf. This coincided with the launch near the operation to clear the Islamic State from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. I'm Tom Scally, Reuters cameraman based in London.
We flew out of Bahrain Airport on a US Navy cargo flight. On the way out, I installed a few cameras in the cockpit so we could get some shots of the pilot and the carrier landing. We were seated facing backwards in the plane, and they used arrestor wires to stop the aircraft very quickly.
When we actually stopped, it felt like we were sinking back into the most incredibly soft and deep mattress.
We were given the chance to film aircraft taking off and landing. It's the most extraordinary place. It's so crowded. There are aircraft being launched off, there are aircraft landing at the same time. We were marshaled into an area of the deck alongside the catapult and we were shown what they called a safe line.
This safe line was only about 20 feet from these airplanes. And when they took off when they were catapulted down the deck, the noise and the heat and the jet wash as they left us almost blew the cameras over. It was just amazing.
We slept overnight, we were given berth towards the bow of the ship. And if aircraft weren't landing and taking off, then they were testing equipment. We could here the catapult being tested over our heads, thudding, crashing. There was people walking down the corridors. It's very hard to sleep.
I think it must take at least a week before you can actually cancel the noise out. The carrier really is a 24-hour city, 7 days a week there's stuff going on. Corridor after corridor, flight of stairs after flight of stairs. We were taken everywhere, but they didn't take their eyes off of us at all.
We were chaperoned if we wanted to go to the bathroom, we were chaperoned when we went to a meal. And there were so many things that were top secret and we were not allowed to see.