In an ABC News exclusive, "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz went aboard the USS Harry S. Truman, the Navy’s massive aircraft carrier which is home to more than 5,000 sailors, armed with hundreds of precision guided weapons, and is at the heart of the fight against ISIS.
"After the attacks in Paris, I think there has been an uptick in the aggressiveness," Rear Admiral Bret Batchelder, who commands the carrier strike group aboard the aircraft carrier, which deployed to the Persian Gulf in November, said. "We've had a constant stream of tasking since we got here, in flight sorties into Iraq and Syria every day."
Raddatz witnessed one of those missions from start to finish, with rare access to fighter pilots beating back ISIS.
Two of those pilots, Lt. Cmdr. John Hiltz (call sign "Johnny Kittens") and Lt. Charles Wickware (call sign "Wingnut"), have logged hundreds of combat hours and have more than 800 carrier landings between them.
Their mission is to target an oil pipeline in a remote area of Eastern Syria, an effort aimed to cripple ISIS's financial resources.
Pulling off this mission will take the effort of hundreds, all working together. "It's a team sport," said RDML Batchelder. "It takes the entire intelligence network, it takes the entire flight deck, and then you get down to the squadron level with the air crew and then they’re briefing their knowledge."
With all that legwork completed, the mission is a go. The pilots take off towards their target, catapulting from the aircraft carrier.
"It's the length of a football field but ... it looks like it's about 10 feet. If it's night, sometimes you have no stars, no horizon, and you're launched right into darkness," Wickware said.
Hiltz and Wickware are in for a long flight, and must refuel midair, in the midst of an intense storm.
But finally, the target comes into view.
"Three, two, one, pickle," the pilots release their weapons simultaneously, and appear to hit their target. But, their mission is not over.
"You still have to come back and land on a moving aircraft carrier deck at night," Hiltz said.
"It is an intense rush and at nighttime your eyes can play all sorts of tricks on you in the dark, and you have to rely on your training to be able to focus for that last three quarters of a mile," Wickware said.
The pilots land safely on the deck, and meet up with Raddatz seconds after landing to reflect on the mission.
"It was not as scripted but certainly at the end of it, we're a results oriented business and we got the results we wanted," Hiltz said.
But as the military moves closer to trying to take back major cities, like Mosul, under ISIS control, the danger will only increase.
"Every time we take the sky," said Hiltz, "there are risks that are inherently placed on us. Everybody has volunteered and said I am prepared to serve my country in anyway shape or form."