ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Eleven Sailors aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) enjoyed a unique opportunity to reunite with family members from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) June 26.
While transiting through the 5th fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) crew members from the Eisenhower strike group flew to Truman via carrier on board delivery (COD) and helicopter for an afternoon visit.
The event was coordinated by command master chiefs from both Truman and Eisenhower as a means of allowing family members that had been separated by the schedules of the two carrier strike groups a chance to reconnect.
"Eisenhower suggested the cross-deck, and we thought it was a great idea," said Truman's Command Master Chief CMDCM (SW/AW) Loran Bather. "It's hard for two deployed service members in the same family to see each other, and this was the least we could do."
The Eisenhower CSG deployed Jan. 2, while the Truman CSG deployed May 21. Both strike groups are home ported in Norfolk, Va.
Logistics Specialist Seaman Antwan Lewis, from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 on board Truman, appreciated seeing his twin brother, Logistics Specialist Seaman Anthony Lewis, from VFA 143 on board Eisenhower.
"We've never been apart before, so it was interesting to see him. He lost a lot of weight!" said Antwan of his brother.
The brothers, who grew up in Atlanta, are very close. They joined the Navy two days apart, and were assigned to different divisions in boot camp. They finally saw each other at "A' school, where they realized that both of them had re-classified into the LS rating without the other knowing.
Since Anthony is completing his second deployment, he was able to pass on advice about what to expect on deployment to his brother.
All of the family members agreed on one thing: constant contact, whether by phone, e-mail or the combined efforts of their leadership making this visit happen is the key to making a deployment a bit easier. Dual-military couples with children face increased hardships during back-to-back deployments.
Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class (AW) Holly Staton-Mountcastle from Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 on board Truman, and her husband, Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Matthew Mountcastle from Eisenhower's Strike VFA 131, have managed to stay close despite the separation by sending each other e-mails and pictures.
After the Eisenhower deployed in January, Holly sent her husband pictures of their two-year-old son. Now that she is deployed, she hopes he returns the favor.
"We took a family portrait last Christmas, and we hope to have a family picture taken together soon," said Staton-Mountcastle.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Brian Case, temporarily assigned to Truman's Naval Security Force, and his brother, Operations Specialist 3rd Class Jason Case, from Eisenhower's Operations department, were very thankful for the opportunity to see each other.
"By the time this deployment is over, we wouldn't have seen each other for over a year," said Brian.
The brothers, whose grandfather served in the Navy in 1941 as an engineer, share many interests, such as rooting for Ohio State and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jason thinks that the relationship between him and his brother has become stronger since he joined the Navy two and a half years ago.
"Brian inspired me to play football and basketball, and taught me a lot about life. As we got older, instead of being so competitive, we started hanging out more," Jason Case added.
The Truman CSG will be relieving the Eisenhower CSG as Task Force 50 in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility later this month.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.