Last Day Aboard the USS Erie: Missile Defense Test Successful

Day One
Day Two
• Day Three
• Day Four

3:45 a.m.: At this time of the morning the ship has a dark red glow down the passageways. Lights out for several hours now, but we are headed to the flight deck where Getz has been kind enough to open the hangar door. As I leave my cabin, the cruiser creaks with each rock and each roll from the waters of the mighty Pacific. Outside I see the lookout posted on the fantail; the sky can't get any darker and again I am amazed at the sharp twinkling of the stars.

4:30 a.m.: Our first hit of the day, radio live shots to cities like Tucson would follow. Each time the anchors or producers on the other end of the line are amazed with the video and with the missile success on the USS Lake Erie.

6:00 a.m.: First call for breakfast in the wardroom. The food once again is fantastic, but what's so amazing about the young men who work all three meals, they have other jobs. The meal duty just part of paying your dues in the Navy. In fact one of the guys, Operations Specialist Oleniacz who works endlessly folding napkins and clearing dishes. He also trains in navigation charts. Every enlisted guy or gal does a 90-day mess duty in the Navy I am told. The other two guys up here in the wardroom are sonar techs, of course once dinner is done.

8:42 a.m.: For a few minutes I get FOX News BlackBerry cell service. Yes there's the typical press releases and other e-mail, but along with it, there are tons of viewer e-mails. Some of them from friends and family and mom's of crew members. For example, I was already warned that Lemieur's mom had found my e-mail and sent her regards, along with a few other comments. I look forward to reading them all and responding.

9:00 a.m.: As I write my last script for this trip, I hear over the intercom the man overboard drill. A dummy is thrown into the ocean, the crew musters on the mess decks to take roll. The rescuers have already begun to prepare the rescue boat as the ship turns around at 700 yards. Our room tilts as we take a tight turn and within minutes the rescue boat has launched on the star bird side and sailors are pulling the dummy into the boat. Not a bad time and an efficient rescue. Once back on board and secured, the announcement of a scratch back. That's when the Lake Erie gets up to about 30 knots and then throws on the breaks. We come to a stop within one ship length. It's pretty impressive and the engineers get a congrats from the Captain over the PA ... came to a stop.

10:15 a.m.: The Captain invites us back to the bridge/pilot house for one final visit. We are given the ships coins with the logo of the USS Lake Erie on one side and the ships seal on the other. The Captain asks for a group photo and then tells us the story of the ship. At daybreak on September 10, 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's lookout sighted Captain H. Barclay's fleet of six vessels northwest of Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Captain Barclay was armed with mostly long guns; Commodore Perry used mostly carronades. Carronades needed fewer me, and could be loaded and fired faster, and their heavier caliber gave Perry a 2-1 firepower advantage at close range — but they had less than half the range of long guns. Just before the battle opened, Perry hoisted his battle flag to the topmast. It was a large blue banner with the crudely inscribed words 'DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP' — which is still the ships motto today.

These were the dying words of his friend, Captain James Lawrence, who was killed in battle in June, and for whom Perry's flagship was named. The DETROIT opened the battle at approximately 11:45 a.m. At 12:30, when Perry opened fire, he thought he had the advantage, but Jesse D. Elliot, Commanding Officer of the NIAGARA, mysteriously kept his ship out of the battle. The now unchallenged QUEEN CHARLOTTE also pounded the LAWRENCE, and by 2:30, four of every five men on the ship were killed or wounded, and all of her guns were out of action. Perry took a small boat to the undamaged NIAGARA and sailed toward the British line. The DETROIT and the QUEEN CHARLOTTE were badly damaged by American carronades. Barclay was wounded and every other British commander was killed or wounded. When they saw NIAGARA coming, the DETROIT and QUEEN CHARLOTTE tried to maneuver into better firing positions, rammed and locked together. Perry broke through the British line, raking the ships on both sides with heavy guns. It was over in only 15 minutes. Following the battle, Perry sent his famous message: "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

11:00 a.m.: Jon, our civilian liaison, walks with us to the mess deck to pay our bills. All the great food and hospitality … just a cool $42.85 a person. Not a bad deal and not sure where the $0.85 came from. Along the way we see a plethora of seamen who thanks us for coming aboard and wish us good luck in the future. I also bump into Lt. Commander Chase Sargeant who has helped us from the beginning like so many others.

11:24 a.m.: I am told the brooms are raised, which means clean sweep. All targets hit as we come back into port in Pearl Harbor. You can feel the excitement as these sailors return home for only a short time, but as victors. Up next for the Lake Erie and its crew, deployment in the Western Pacific and I am told another missile test is in the works in that region.

2:30 a.m.: Back in port. As we enter Pearl Harbor, I see the Arizona Memorial and also Nevada point, where the ships captain ran the ship aground on December 71941, to make sure not to block the channel. That took guts. As we enter the docking area, we back the massive Cruiser into the berth. Two tugboats help maneuver the big ship; the crew also conducting the docking under their watchful eye. The captains' three horns signal means the ship is backing in. I see brown water stirred from below as the powerful ships rotors stir the bottom of the channel. Also, the flag goes up and the crew is antsy to get ashore, since deployment begins the end of next week.

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Adam Housley joined FOX News Channel in 2001 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent. Most recently, Housley reported from President Ford's funeral. He also reported from Nicaragua and El Salvador on the war against drugs and scored an exclusive interview with Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega. You can read his full bio here.

Adam Housley joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based senior correspondent.