USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- A mother and son are currently serving side-by-side aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as the ship conducts Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of Southern California.
Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Devin Duffy, assigned to Ronald Reagan's intelligence division, was recently joined by his mother, Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) (SW) Julie Ward.
Ward is assigned to Commander, Strike Force Training Pacific, which is currently aboard Ronald Reagan evaluating the ship and embarked air wing during COMPTUEX.
"I was originally supposed to go on an exercise with USS Peleliu (LHA 5)," said Ward. "But my command decided to send someone else and I ended up here."
But it wasn't a disappointment to either family member.
"I was pretty psyched," said Ward about working with her son. "It's the chance of a lifetime; one that we will not likely have ever again."
Duffy says he totally agrees with his mother about this "once in a lifetime" experience.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be here with her. I have a lot of respect for her and what she accomplished in life," said Duffy. "Since she's retiring and she's on her twilight tour, it's really kind of passing the baton. I'm proud to say I serve with her."
Like many Sailors, Duffy said he joined the Navy after high school, but not without a little suggestion from his mom.
"I was coming to the end of high school, and I didn't have any real plans for after," said Duffy. "I applied to schools but had no real desire to do that right away. She [his mother] suggested the Navy, and I looked into it and decided the Navy has a lot to offer."
Duffy said he chose a rate in the intelligence community, a community his mom is very familiar with based upon her time in the Navy.
"I like my job," said Duffy. "I'm really outgoing and I like to be around people. As an intelligence specialist, you do a lot of briefing and working with a lot of different people from other divisions in Operations Department, so I chose that."
However, Duffy does admit to one small problem with his mother serving on the same ship.
"I have to call her chief," said Duffy. "I can't do it with a straight face sometimes. She's still my mom."
Duffy's shipmates say they have enjoyed the last three weeks the mother and son have served together aboard Ronald Reagan.
"They make a pretty good team," said Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (AW/SW) Jenni Payne, one of Duffy's supervisors. "They joke around a lot and it's really funny just to be around them."
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.