Once in a while you get lucky when doing a big NATO exercise. In 1998 I was in the Med participating in a major NATO exercise named Dynamic Impact. In this exercise we had to clear the waters of seamines before the amphibious forces could get in the scene of action and try to make a beachhead. The USS Saipan would be the big boss in this exercise deciding who went where and when. Prior to the exercise the ships were joining up for the exercise in the italian port of Cagliari at the island of Sardegna.
During the weekend before the exercise we were invited to come and take a look onboard the amphibious helicoptercarrier USS Saipan. The weather was very nice and all aircraft were up on deck because down below the ship was filled with equipment like Abrams A1A tanks and LCAC's(Landing Craft Air Cushen(Hovercraft))and personell. Sadly during the exercise we didn't see much of the embarked aircraft but didn't matter all that much because I had seen them all during our visit.

Jan Eenling 2008