USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 are celebrating their record-breaking efforts during the 2006 Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Fund Drive.
Ronald Reagan and Air Wing Sailors raised more than $190,000 for NMCRS during the month of April, shattering the old record and setting a new standard for aircraft carriers.
According to John Irons, director of the San Diego NMCRS, the previous record was held by the crew of USS Constellation (CV 64) and their embarked air wing, who raised $155,000 during the 1995 fund drive.
"We have shattered the all-time fund drive record for an aircraft carrier," said Lt. John Brabazon, Ronald Reagan's NMCRS fund drive coordinator. "I'm really impressed with the level of support we have received from the crew during this year's fund-raising campaign."
The mission of the NMCRS is to provide, in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the Naval Services of the United States, eligible family members, and survivors when in need; and to receive and manage funds to administer these programs. This mission is accomplished by awarding grants and interest-free loans to service members who are in need.
Brabazon said the record-breaking campaign could not have been accomplished without the efforts of his hard-working team of volunteers that included officers, chief petty officers and junior Sailors from all pay grades.
Through this team, which he referred to as "Team Navy Relief" throughout the campaign, Brabazon said he was able to achieve 100 percent contact with members of the Ronald Reagan crew and embarked carrier air wing.
According to Brabazon, Team Navy Relief had three goals during this year's campaign: to make 100% contact with the crew, to educate Ronald Reagan and CVW-14 Sailors on the many services Navy Relief provides, and to have fun raising funds to support Navy Relief.
"During the campaign we were also able to help educate the crew on the many services provided by NMCRS," said Brabazon. "We used Sailors who have utilized their services in the past to share their testimonials in order to help get the message to the rest of the crew. It worked, and the result was an outstanding fund-raising campaign that broke the record for money raised by an aircraft carrier."
Brabazon and his team were also credited with the development of the "High Five for Navy Relief" theme aboard Ronald Reagan. In order to give back to NMCRS at the level Ronald Reagan Sailors received in financial assistance during 2005, Team Navy Relief asked the crew to consider a $5-a-month allotment to support NMCRS.
According to Brabazon, the "High Five" campaign, which featured both print and shipboard television advertisements and commercials, helped get the message to the ship's crew in a unique and memorable manner.
Ronald Reagan and CVW-14 are currently deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of a routine rotation of U.S. maritime forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the region.
MSO set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. MSO deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.
Commissioned in 2003, Ronald Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and departed San Diego Jan. 4 on its maiden deployment.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.