Saturday, February 23, 2008

US 193 shootdown local connection

There's a local connection to the shoot down of US 193, the malfunctioning satellite: the Captain of the USS Lake Eire, the cruiser that shot down the satellite, is from Iowa and graduated from Iowa State.
A northeast Iowa native who graduated from Iowa State University is the commander of the U.S. Navy cruiser that blasted a disabled spy satellite above the Pacific Ocean late Wednesday with a guided missile strike.

Capt. Randall M. Hendrickson, who grew up in Marquette along the banks of the Mississippi River, has been the skipper of the USS Lake Erie since June 2006.

Hendrickson said in a telephone interview Thursday that he graduated from Iowa State in 1983 and still considers himself a "Cyclone at heart."

He received a bachelor's degree with a double major in political science and naval science and was a member of ISU's Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Hendrickson told The Des Moines Register on Thursday that he never anticipated commanding the type of mission that his crew accomplished in intercepting the spy satellite.

"After about two or three briefing sessions and doing some of the training, I thought, 'You know, this actually could work,' " Hendrickson said.

"It is a pretty sophisticated system, as you might imagine. It was not originally designed to do that. Anytime you try to push a system beyond its limits, it is one of those things that you always have a little bit of a question whether or not it is going to work. The crew performed magnificently and the system did just what it was supposed to do."

Make sure to check out the end of the article for some "local boy done good" sentiment straight out of a small town newspaper.