However, the Wilkinsons aren't the only father-son duo to serve aboard Kearsarge
Chief Warrant Officer Mark Bradford, the ship's boatswain, was ecstatic when he learned his son would be embarking with him.
"Serving alongside your son is a once in a lifetime experience," said Bradford. "I could not be more happy and proud. It's definitely a blessing I will remember for the rest of my life."
Bradford's son, Lance Cpl. Bradley Rollyson, who forewent the blue coveralls of his father for the green camouflage of the U.S. Marine Corps, is attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which embarked aboard Kearsarge
for hurricane relief efforts.
I always wanted to follow my dad's footsteps and make him proud," said Rollyson. "I knew the Marines are one of the toughest branches, and I wanted to push myself to succeed."
Rollyson knew he was getting the opportunity of a lifetime when he first found out he would be going underway with Kearsarge
"My father used to tell me stories about how his ship would drop off Marines and take them wherever they had to go, and when I found out I was going to be one of those Marines, I realized it was a crazy opportunity," Rollyson said. "We ended up pretty lucky, serving on a mission like this together, and when we get back, we'll be able to tell the rest of our family about what we did out here."
"While I don't always see my son around the deck plates, I know he is doing what needs to be done to support the mission," Bradford said. "And it's great to see our Navy and Marine team, which we're a part of, working together to get the job done."
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