Wyoming state reps propose bill to investigate buying an aircraft carrier in case the USA collapses

Wyoming state representative Lorraine Quarberg (R-Thermopolis) has proposed Wyoming House Bill 85, which will prepare Wyoming for the day that the USA collapses. It includes an amendment proffered by Rep. Kermit Brown, which establishes a task force to investigate "conditions under which the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier."

The state does not have a whole hell of a lot of water, to be honest. It appears that its largest lake is Yellowstone Lake, which on average is about 140 feet deep. (Yes, it's in a national park now, but that wouldn't matter, would it?) The draft of a Midway-class carrier, which you can probably find on eBay for cheap, was only 33 feet; even the biggest carrier available (Nimitz-class) only needs about 40 feet of water to float. So yes, assuming they could find one and figure out a way to get it in there, the people of Wyoming could potentially have their own aircraft carrier. It might not have much room to putt around in, but still.

I wouldn't get too cocky, though, even then. Dry as they are, most if not all the neighboring states seem to have at least one lake that could float a carrier, and since Wyoming has the fewest people of any U.S. state, it'd be heavily outnumbered, too.

Wyoming to Consider Buying an Aircraft Carrier

(Image: Modellbaumesse-Köln_2008-11-08 14-56-20, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from schwenke's photostream)


  1. What are they going to do, sail it up and down the Platte river?

    I’d actually pay a good five bucks to see that. At that rate, they could pay it off in only a couple million years. Maybe it isn’t entirely stupid.

  2. The aircraft carrier part was added by someone other then the author with the intent to kill the bill by ridicule.  I guess in the 1950 when everyone was building bomb shelters  in case the soviets drop the bomb they got ridiculed too.

      1.  Thankfully, they weren’t needed.

        Unless a person grew up with the regular weekly air raid drills in school and the weekly air raid siren tests, it is hard to understand the way everyone felt.

      1. The parties we had in bomb shelters when we were kids had no equal.  So I consider you to be in the right here.

    1. It’s true.  The further we move from true, raw, pure democracy with protections for the minority, the more insane we become.

  3. They are aware that all nuclear warheads must be returned if they exit the union, yes?

    Collapsing or not, we’ll send the Air Force to get the warheads out or pound them into glow-in-the-dark shrapnel.

  4. Yeah, I can see how fans of Red Dawn and Road Warrior and secession would get turned on by these kinds of plans, but the text of the original bill (before the amendment) doesn’t sound that ridiculous. Would you want your state to have a plan for the possibility of food or energy shortages, regardless of the causes, or do you want them to play it by ear?

    1. I’ll take option C: prepared for shortages but without secession/collapse language.

      I enjoyed reading Brin’s “The Postman” but I’d rather kill myself than live through it.

      1.  Read Robert Heinlein’s book, “Friday.” The story is set in a future “Balkanized” US. Stephenson’s “Snowcrash” is set in similar circumstances, as well.

        secession/collapse is a possibility that can’t be ignored.

        1.  Not that I am arguing for or against the possibility of secession/collapse, but “someone used it is the setting for a book” isn’t exactly a supporting argument.

          1. I’m sad that you aren’t able to see the parallelisms between a book plot and real life. You must not understand fiction.

            (Damned Disqus.)

        2. It certainly will be if the local legislatures want to avoid charges of treason/sedition. I’d help hang the bastards myself, given the option, after they went in front of a jury.

          1. I’m sad that you aren’t able to see the parallelisms between a book plot and real life. You must not understand fiction.

          2. **Sorry. I replied on Disqus and clicked the wrong reply arrow.**

            Why is it that so many people think that a government is an immutable object? History certainly does not support that view.

        3. (I’ll reply here as it’s not an option nested further in)

          Governments are mutable in the same any currency is whether shiny metal or a bunch of bits. If the states stop playing along then the union collapses and shit gets fucked up. The same problems people have with our current government would continue along with new challenges into the 50 separate governments and life would become more unpleasant. The peasants would be restricted to an even smaller particular patch of dirt and I’d get stuck in Georgia.

          Thus, I am highly interested in my state government continuing its role as a state government and not becoming a backwater republic.

    2. Yeah, you kind of have to separate consideration of the original bill from the gag amendment. The original still sounds like it would be an excuse to spend a few $thousand on junkets while channeling Howard Kunstler, but in principle at least I could get behind the idea of the state government making plans for cataclysmic disaster. The military hardware… not so much.

      1. I also wondered if they’re re-inventing the wheel. Is it possible that other state or govt agencies have already studied or planned for food & energy shortages or other emergencies?

        1. Deidzoeb, are you saying you’d like your state to just cancel all their emergency planning efforts, and make a photocopy of the emergency plans from another state (like Wyoming)?

          1. No. I’d like my state to see whether the Red Cross or National Guard or other agencies within my state, have made emergency plans already, before spending money  on a new taskforce covering the same ground. Maybe after considering other existent emergency plans, they could still decide to launch a state task force and come up with their own plans. Maybe Wyoming already did that or maybe they’re factoring it into their decision to fund a state task force.

            Sorry, it was a little confusing. When I said “state or govt agencies”, I was thinking of agencies within that state. But I didn’t say anything like “cancel all their emergency planning efforts”. I meant that they should avoid “reinventing the wheel,” as in duplicating work that had already been done.

    3. Yeah, I can see how fans of Red Dawn and Road Warrior and secession would get turned on by these kinds of plans

      Is there even enough money in whole state of Wyoming to gay up something as big as that aircraft carrier?

      1.  Wyoming has a surplus budget from mineral, oil, and gas royalties.  In 2008, we could afford the aircraft carrier and its transportation out here.  Not so much with the drop in natural gas and methane prices.

      2.  The 2008 figures are USD$35,000,000,000.

        Though someone will get the idiot to pull his aircraft carrier amendment to the bill.

  5. That’s the thing that cracks me up about those 10th amendment states-right people…why should we believe that state governments are any better than the federal one?

    1. They’re equally moronic, but they can inflict their imbecility only on relatively small areas In addition, the average voter can actually have some influence in local and state government, at least in most states, in contrast to federal offices.

  6. If there is an apocalypse, I am putting all my resources into putting an aircraft carrier into a volcano. 

  7. As useful as the Turkish Navy in WWII.

    I guess I can understand the fear, but the counter-measures seem irrational.

  8. Maybe they could use the money for this on something constructive in an emergency, like teaching CPR in school, building additional reservoirs, or teaching volunteers how to triage people who need medical attention.

  9.  An aircraft carrier that you can;t move out of range of enemy forces and support with a full carrier group is useless. They should put their resources into land air bases with hardened bunkers for aircraft and crew the way that Sweden and Switzerland do. Iraq was pretty good at this in the eighties and nineties too, but it was no match for US air power.

    A carrier would make sense for Texas or Florida where you have the whole Gulf of Mexico to hide in. While Florida could be defended entirely by carrier aircraft, planes from the Gulf would have a hard time fighting west of Austin. Oh well, no loss.

    1. The only thing that’ll save them is all 660,000 Wyomingers doing the Macarena simultaneously, like that pack of Lemurs in Madagascar.

  10. I’ve outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers, mind you. I’m talking about the big Corellian ships, now.

  11. And it’s been defeated….


    Rep. Brown was not a sponsor of the bill, although he does seem to have voted for it on the first reading; he later offered the aircraft-carrier amendment, and then voted against the whole thing today. So, although he hasn’t confirmed it yet, it does look like he may be one of those relatively rare legislators with both a sense of humor and the will to express it in a piece of legislation (which he knew would be deleted). It’s nice to be able to get humor out of a legislature this way for once.

  12. If Wyoming buys an aircraft carrier, I think Idaho & Oregon should start worrying. Got yourself an aircraft carrier, y’all gonna start lookin’ for some coastline…

  13. OK…I just woke up turned on the damn PC and surfed over to Boing Boing …and read this. Still on my first cup of coffee I figured that I misunderstood the headline … then wondered if I was actually reading The Onion … and then in befuddlement checked the Calendar. Nope…not April 1.   That must be some crazy stuff in the drinking water out there in Wyoming.

    I do like the Aircraft carrier concept though.  Makes as much sense as the rest.

  14. With 5 people per square mile, Wyoming has the lowest population density of the contiguous US of A.  
    An aircraft carrier there would be a fantastic place to survive the zombiecalypse. 
    They’re not gonna run out of ammo. 

  15. Have none of you read the article?

    Kermit’s an asshat who proposed the amendment because he’s not adult enough to engage in rational discussion about any disaster preparedness planning.

    1.  Who exactly do you recommend he ‘engage in rational discussion about any disaster preparedness planning’ with? Bombshelter rats? Separatist militia types? Zombie movie aficiondos? FEMA?

      Finally a politician with a sense of humor that doesn’t end in the death or detriment to thousands. Asshat? That’s certainly adult of you.

  16. The truth is that all men having power should be mistrusted
         James Madison

    Finally read the reason for the proposal. Good joke. Sure got me, but then considering the actual nuttiness of so many Republicans, it actually sounded plausible.

  17. The carrier isn’t supposed to be in wyoming, its supposed to be off the california coast for strikes on san francisco.

  18. There’s something very “Fallout 3” about this. Like Rivet City. Now that I think about it, even the name “Thermopolis” sounds like it belongs to a post-nuclear trading port full of bounty hunters, slave-traders, and women of the night. Anyone got a Nuka-Cola?

  19. People, you’re not seeing the bigger picture here. Global warming, sea level rises – do I have to draw you a map?

    In 2112, when the Montanans try to challenge Wyoming’s maritime superiority, the citizens of Port Jackson are going to be glad that someone thought to put a line-item in the budget to cover the cost of a carrier. 

    1.  When you draw that map, could you please plot elevations on it?  Wyoming is ludicrously high above sea level.

  20. Aww, I was diggin’ the whole Kevin Costner, “Waterworld” thing.  How ’bout old Postal vehicles?  That worked for Kevin the other time the world was destroyed. collapsed or whatever.

  21. Only tangentially related,  but maybe you can learn from my mistakes:

    – Never get involved in a land war in Asia, 
    – Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line,  and most importantly,
    – Don’t joke with a patriotic Bolivian about their Navy.

    The largest, proudest land-locked Navy in the world turns out to have been a sore spot since 1880.

  22. The original bill made a lot of sense.  With a population of less than 500,000 ppl, Wy would come in last in allocation of any resources of a failing fed govt >  WY actually has enough money to go a long way toward such an effort.  (The aircraft carrier was added by an idiot to kill the bill).
    In any national  emergency, Thermopolis will be hard to get to with no serious airport and being located at N end of Wind River Canyon.  Furthermore, people around Thermop have good reason to despise the feds, Thermop is right outside the Wind River Indian Reservation and we all know how well the indians got treated by the feds.  A bit of paranoia is justified on their part.
    Most people in Wy are seriously self sufficient (they have to be) so such funding would go far.  I’d expect that most of it would be used to keep roads open in winter if the feds are temporarily too distracted to keep the few fed hiways open.  I’d expect an allocation of 1 lb of black powder/person  and lead for shot too as there are so many serious black powder types there.
    I have property on a mountain in WY and my neighbors are all serious “off the grid”,”off the internet” “happy to live in the 1800s” types, very cool people.  They are ok with using their .69 cal. flintlocks to hunt for food.
    Wy really could do reasonably well as an independent nation with so few people who are so well armed.  They have huge mineral, oil and gas resources so would always run a trade surplus.  They grow a lot of wheat too and of course there is cattle.  Their latest export is wind power as Wy is the windiest place I have ever seen.
    So, the bill was a good idea and your disparaging the people of Wy is just another reason why people in flyover country despise the arrogance of coastal liberals.

    1. Do you seriously think an untrained rabble armed with flintlocks will be of any use when the Canadian Army and Navy pour over the border with their breechloaders and dreadnoughts? You’ll be crying for an aircraft carrier then.

      Also, I’ve heard that Obama has given in to EU pressure and decreed that all bullet molds must be a standard 18mm, making your muskets useless.

      All your wind power will soon be ours.

    2. Frogwatch,

      I deleted your second comment because you not only included a hundred lines of copy-pasted css, you exposed your own e-mail address.

  23. I mean it sounds stupid, but really it is genius! I mean how are the other enemy ships supposed to sink her?

    And I mean trying to get a Sub into the lake to torpedo her is just ridiculous!

    Also the troops would have high moral from all the shore leave (even though its Wyoming).

    I’m just saying if ever there was a safer armed forces, I don’t know of it. I bet when they have the draft, they would have volunteers for the Navy positions!

  24. Copy pasted stuff?  Sorry, my mistake.
    However, Canadians invading WY?  WY would they want to?  Canada has their own oil and has no need of Wy surplus antelope population.  The purpose of blackpowder is to provide food for oneself not to kill people but I can understand urbanites not being able to figure that out.
    Seriously, planning for a fed govt outage in WY would probably involve having fuel on hand for snowplows and handing out black powder to harvest antelope, deer and elk for food.
    In a crisis with no fed govt, hardly anybody will want to go to WY, there’s no place for em to stay there.  They’ll be going south where its warm with food.  WY has no reason to defend itself from the outside

  25. BTW, Thermopolis is named for the hot springs where there are several commercial places to swim and a state park with a small hot pool.
    I know it is off the most travelled paths to Yellowstone but it is worth driving thru the Wind River Canyon to get there.
    For those who want some perspective on living in WY, I can reccomend the series of books by CJ Box about a game warden there.
    I lived in WY for three years but now live in N. FL.  My wife broke down crying when we left WY but we go back every year.  WY is not like CO at all.  CO seems to be all about upper class skiers whereas WY is all about working class people, roughnecks, cowboys and those who want to be left alone.  Most people who like WY think Jackson is an abomination on the Wy landscape.  When I heard that Ralph LAuren had opened a store in Jackson I thought the people of Wy would burn it down but they  more tolerant than I of such signs of cultural imperialism.

  26. You got me started on stories about my Wyoming neighbors.  My place is about 8000′ and my nearest neighbor is about 1000′ away.  She is about 70 yrs old and has dog that is part wolf.  She lives in a 10′ x15′ log cabin with no running water and no power and she has no vehicle.  I told her she could take the wood from my place (pine beetle killed trees) for heating.  Her son (about 30 yrs old) lived with her for a couple years but recently got arrested for drug stuff.  I asked how he was doing in jail and she said he was liking it a lot better than being home cuz he had running water, electricity, TV, didn’t have to cut wood or wade thru chest high snow to go to the outhouse.  I didn’t tell her this but I figure that if jail seems like a nice vacation then your lifestyle MIGHT be a bit harsh.
    Another mountain resident came by one day in a rare moment of sobriety and as we were drinking coffee on the porch, he told me, “I know something about your property nobody else knows, you have a well”.  Now, nobody on my part of the mountain has a well, another nearby guy drilled 600′ and never got any water but this guy insisted my property had a well.  So, we took off down the trail and about 400′ from the cabin pointed under a juniper bush at an old rusted paint can upside down.  I was doubtful but reached down and lifted it and was amazed to find an open well casing under it.  With my compass mirror, I could reflect sunlight down it and see water about 75′ down, I was amazed.  Having any source of water up there is a wonder because otherwise you have to haul it up on your truck in a 150 gallon tank, a serious thing on that winding switchback road.  He told me, “I get 5 gallons a day from mine, its trapped between two layers of rock and it takes overnight to refill.”  OK, so 5 gallons/day  isn’t much unless you have none and I could collect it when I wasn’t there.  So, I asked him if the water was any good and he said “Health department tested it, said it had that g-something bug in it”.  I asked, “Giardia” and he says, “Yeah, thats it, but it dont hurt me none.”

  27. I understand that geography education is severely lacking in the US, but do these reps not even understand that Wyoming is 1) land locked or 2) (at least half) in the Rocky Mountains?

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