USS Harry S. Truman, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) leadership offered a unique chance for Sailors to connect with their families this holiday season via Video Teleconference (VTC).
The first round of VTCs took place Dec. 24, 26 and 27 and allowed more than 192 Sailors to participate.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Montana McClanahan, Harry S. Truman's automated data processing officer, said the program was created to help increase the morale of Sailors aboard the ship. He said Harry S. Truman has a chain of command committed to not only supporting Sailors, but supporting their families as well.
"Families at home are still part of the family at sea and we are very aware of that," McClanahan said. "We are trying to help facilitate that connection that Sailors need to have to be able to continue to do this demanding job every day."
Seaman Eboni Foster, from Truman's Deck Department, said she had the chance to talk with her baby, mother and stepfather. She said the setup was professional and intimate and was relieved when she finally saw her family.
"It is really important to do things like the VTC," Foster said. "It gives us peace and let us know things at home are fine and we shouldn't worry."
Harry S. Truman's Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Clarence Frye said although Sailors are able to communicate underway via phone and e-mail, the VTC provides a unique occasion for Sailors to speak to their families face-to-face.
"We so rarely get the opportunity to see our families while we are out here," Frye said. "In the future, just like e-mail and phones came about, I think you will be able to sit in front of your computer and punch up VTC with your family back home. It's an opportunity we have not taken advantage of until now and [it] is something we are looking forward to."
December's VTC was only available to Sailors with family in Norfolk. According to McClanahan, however, the next VTC will facilitate Sailors with family in Jacksonville, Fla., and Whidbey Island, Wash.
McClanahan and Frye agree that the program is something to show Sailors that the jobs they do everyday do not go unnoticed.
"We are out here to support a mission and this is a one team one fight effort," McClanahan said. "Your family is part of that team and your chain of command cares about that. When we left Norfolk we said we were going to try to do things outside of the box to keep our families connected – it's something to say we are going to do something … it's something else to come full circle and actually make that happen."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.