ABOARD THE BUNKER HILL — Less than an hour after a recent dawn rolled west into the Pacific Ocean, Capt. Joe Cahill sat in his starboard chair, a lined face pointed toward a line of warships wheeling north around San Clemente Island.
In the lead, the destroyers Halsey and Higgins cut through the waves in a tight turn toward land, trailed by the looming flattop Theodore Roosevelt and the destroyer Sampson in its wake.
And in the far rear, like a bear protecting her cubs, was the Bunker Hill, the 10,000-ton cruiser that orchestrates the air defenses for Carrier Strike Group 15. It's on guard in case there's ever a need to blast to dots enemy jets, helicopters, drones and missiles arcing toward the flotilla.