The battleship, the drone, and the chocolate chip cookiesRPV away, off the stern of the USS Iowa in 1987. (credit: US Navy photo) Today is Memorial Day in the US, and we wanted to recognize the Ars readers and staff who’ve served by resurfacing another military memory from our resident Navy man, Sean Gallagher. Sean served aboard the USS Iowa, and here he recalls how he contributed to drone warfare with chocolate chip cookies (seriously). This piece originally ran in May 2015.

Two weeks ago, I made a pilgrimage to the Port of Los Angeles to visit the ship that played a central part in setting me on the path that put me where I am today—the battleship USS Iowa. And as I walked toward the Big Stick at its new home in San Pedro, a ship’s boat sitting on the pier alongside her triggered a recollection of one of the most memorable episodes in my tour aboard Iowa: a night in late September of 1987 when I left my somewhat minor mark on the history of drone warfare with a box of chocolate chip cookies.
I was an ensign aboard the USS Iowa, which was taking part in a joint military exercise with the Turkish military called Display Determination ’87, a rehearsal for a reinforcement of Turkish forces by US Army, Navy, and Marine units in the event of a Soviet invasion. From off the Turkish coast in Saros Bay, the Iowa was to provide shore bombardment in advance of a Marine amphibious landing. But the helicopter we had used to put our Marine forward observer in the air the day before was “tits-up,” as they say, and we needed eyes in the sky for the final bombardment.
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