ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) left its homeport of Norfolk, Va., Dec. 5 for a regularly scheduled six-month deployment, the ship's second since its commissioning in 1998.
The ship and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 are deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to Executive Officer Capt. Ted Carter, there is no need for anything extra to inspire the crew.
"Everybody here is self-motivated," Carter said. "No job is less important than any other. I've never felt the need to give the crew any 'artificial motivation.'"
Preparing for a six-month stint away from their homes and families, Harry S. Truman (HST) Sailors made sure to have their last-minute necessities and comforts packed and ready to go.
"I brought all my favorite CDs and pictures of my family on board," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Noah A. Cook of HST's combat systems division. "These little things help me escape the daily routine when we are out to sea."
Apart from the books, photo albums, blankets, CDs and other material possessions that will bring a "little slice of home" underway, Sailors have different ways of coping with being away from their loved ones for six months.
"Even though this is my second deployment, it's going to be difficult to be away from my loved ones again," said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class (AW) Andrew J. Hill, a member of the ship's aircraft intermediate maintenance division. "So I plan on constantly keeping in touch with my girlfriend and family throughout the next couple of months."
The emotional stress felt by both the Sailor and their families can be lessened through regular contact via mail, e-mail and telephone calls. Sailors who left children behind will be able to remain close thanks to the "United Through Reading" program.
The United Through Reading program will give deployed Sailors and Marines the unique chance to read stories aloud on video. The video is then send home so their children can listen to their favorite stories as told by their parent.
"I think this is a fantastic opportunity to help deployed families keep in touch," said Chief Disbursing Clerk (SW) Nancy McNeil, who oversees the program. "It's a comforting feeling knowing that my family will miss me when they see the video. It helps me focus on what's out here by giving me peace of mind."
The carrier pulled away from the pier at Norfolk with a new underway song. Instead of their usual song, the theme from the movie "Superman," the ship and air wing were ushered along to the tune of "Living on the Edge" by the rock band Aerosmith. The legendary rock group had visited the ship in October while in Norfolk as part of a concert tour.
HST is scheduled to relieve USS George Washington (CVN 73), whose return date has not been determined.
For related news, visit the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn75.