Like father, like son
Families serve together on USS Kearsarge
The crew aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) had less than 36 hours to take on supplies and personnel to assist with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in August. The crew has been conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts for more than a month now, first in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma and later in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
But two pairs of fathers and sons got the chance to bring their family with them.
"I'm a very lucky man to have family onboard," said Chief Information Systems Technician Corbett Wilkinson. "Having my oldest son onboard, especially on his first underway, is very exciting. It makes me feel like home isn't so far away."
Wilkinson's son, Hospitalman Ian Wilkinson, is stationed aboard the yet-to-be-commissioned destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), which afforded him the opportunity to be temporarily assigned to Kearsarge.
I look for him frequently about the ship," the elder Wilkinson said. "Occasionally I see him speaking with a friend or coworker. I never interrupt, just smile to myself for a moment and let him enjoy his first underway onboard a Navy warship."
"The mission keeps us separate for the most part," he added. "But since we've been underway, I've seen my son put away the video games and work out more, grapple with Marines and stand a proper watch even after working all day long. I think it's amazing - I get to see firsthand how he is becoming a Sailor I'm proud to serve with each day."
The timing of his son's assignment was especially fortunate. Ian was able to pin anchors on his father during Wilkinson's chief petty officer pinning ceremony, held in Kearsarge's hangar bay, Sept. 16.
"I was so honored to get the chance to pin on my dad's anchors," said Ian, "especially now that I know how special it is and how much work goes into making a chief. ... I'm so happy I made the decision to get underway with Kearsarge. I'm loving every minute, and it's even better ... to share this with my dad, after wondering all these years what exactly it was that he was doing out here."