NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors on board the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) hosted a friends and family day cruise (FFDC) July 18 to give their loved ones a firsthand look at the daily operations aboard Truman.
The 14-hour cruise was an excellent opportunity for guests to tour the ship, learn how various departments support the mission and enjoy entertainment sponsored by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department.
The purpose of friends and family day cruise is to give friends and family a snap shot of what Sailors do on board, said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Palmore, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department maintenance material control officer and FFDC coordinator.
"I brought my family on board today so they could experience what it is like to be on a Navy carrier and to see how I live every day," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Kaitlin Schommer.
"The idea is to develop a feel-good relationship with our friends and family so they have an idea of what our Sailors and Marines do on a daily basis," said Palmore. "Whether you are working on the mess decks, working on the bridge or standing watch in engineering department, nobody really gets the idea of what that may encompass until they come out here and see it for themselves."
It took a lot of planning to prepare for FFDC and the more than 3,700 registered guests.
"I am just the coordinator," said Palmore. "Of course it took everyone on the ship's help, whether you were prepping your spaces or you worked in supply, which took on a brunt of the work. MWR also did a fantastic job getting the entertainment setup, and I think everyone did a great job."
"MWR's role is basically to maintain the morale of the ship and to show the friends and families a good time," said Fire Controlman Jason Edwards, MWR representative.
The event featured live concerts, a magic show and even a performance by the Washington Redskin cheerleaders.
"Friends and family day cruise definitely boosts morale for friends and family but even for the crew," said Palmore. "I have seen guys who normally view their jobs as tedious and [now] have a little more pep in their step."
"I think it is good to do fun things like this once in a while instead of work, work, work," said Schommer.
A highlight of the event was an air-power demonstration, which featured F/A-18s performing aerial maneuvers and two supersonic fly-bys. Truman's air department also launched and recovered several aircraft with guests closely watching from behind the foul line.
The event also included an autograph signing by Madison Pettis, actress, from the Disney show "Cory in the House."
"I was really happy to come out," said Pettis. "I have an older brother in the Army so for me to do anything that involves the military is really special for me."
Friends and family day was not only about showing the guests a good time but also how Truman operates and defends the country during war time.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.