Croatian Officials Welcome Big “E”


Story Number: NNS060518-10Release Date: 5/18/2006 1:24:00 PM
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By Journalist 3rd Class Jill Lynn Broecher and Journalist 1st Class (SW) Hendrick L. Dickson, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

SPLIT, Croatia (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) was welcomed to Split, Croatia, by several of the country's high ranking officials when the ship made her first port visit of a regularly scheduled six-month deployment May 17.

Enterprise is the first aircraft carrier to visit Split in years.

Upon arrival in Split, Adm. Raymond Spicer, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, Capt. Lawrence Rice, Enterprise commanding officer and CMDCM (AW/SS) Paul DeClerco, Enterprise command master chief, were greeted by Deputy Mayor Zeljko Jerkov, Splitsko-Dalmatinski County Governor Ante Sanader and Commander-in-Chief of the Croatian navy, Vice Adm. Zdravko Kardum.

Kardum expressed hope that the ship's visit will continue to build an alliance and foster cooperation between the two countries.

"I wish you to have a pleasant time," Kardum said. "We will do all the best to help you remember this port visit. Your visit will make a huge relationship with the United States and Croatian Navy."

"Our navies have always had a close relationship," said Spicer. "We are honored to be the first carrier in so long."

During Big E's visit to Split, the ship will host a Medal of Honor ceremony May 18 for Croatian-American, Chief Watertender Peter Tomich, who was posthumously awarded the medal in 1942 for his action aboard USS Utah (BB 31) during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

"It is really an honor to host the Medal of Honor ceremony for Chief Tomich, and bring his award home to his family here in Croatia," Spicer said.

During the four-day port visit, the more than 5,000 Sailors and Marines from Enterprise and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 will have the opportunity to enjoy the historical city by partaking in several tours and community relations projects.

"We're happy to make this our first port visit during this deployment," said Rice. "You have a beautiful city, and our Sailors are looking forward to meeting the city and experiencing the culture."

Enterprise, along with Carrier Strike Group 12, departed for its scheduled six-month deployment May 2 and is currently operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

For related news, visit the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.

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