USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Two service members presently serving aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) have the rare opportunity to work aboard an aircraft carrier with a family member.
Electrician's Mate Fireman James Hawkins, from Truman's Engineering Department, Battery and Lighting Division, and Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jordan Hawkins, an avionics technician from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312, deployed together on board Truman May 21.
The Hawkins brothers, James, 21, and Jordan, 19, have four siblings. The youngest three decided to join the military. James and Jordan never expected to deploy together.
"Nothing but the grace of God brought us together," James said. "When we went our separate ways, I figured we would just try to catch each other whenever we took leave."
Jordan was surprised to discover his brother would be on the deployment with him.
"It takes a lot of stress away having him here," Jordan said. "Since we're together, I can see him almost whenever I want, so I won't have to worry about him as much. Our family is also relieved to know we're together, and we can watch out for each other."
The brothers agreed being able to talk to each other face-to-face instead of communicating via phone or e-mail makes it easier to deal with long working hours and the stresses of being away from their family.
"It's good to know someone is there for me," Jordan said. "I've got family on board, and I don't have to wait until we get back to see somebody who grew up with me."
Jordan and James try to spend as much time together as they can, from participating in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events to exercising and eating together.
"We try to catch each other in between shift changes," James said. "We eat together when we get the time, and if we ever need anything from each other ,we go to each others' racks."
Jordan and James are both married. Jordan has one child with another on the way. Their wives, like other military spouses, were sad to see them leave for deployment, but were comforted their husbands would be together.
"My wife didn't want me to leave," Jordan said, "She knew my brother was going to be on the ship, so it also helps her to worry less about me because she knows he'll be able to watch out for me out here."
The brothers have different plans for the future.
"I plan on making the military a career," said Jordan. "It's getting easier for me, and I'm able to worry less about work so I can focus more on my family. It's a secure job, and I like what I do, and the family benefits are amazing."
James looks more toward a future in the civilian sector.
"I've always wanted to be an architect," James said. "I think I'm getting out when my time is up. I will always support my brother's decision to stay in, and I'm enjoying my time here."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.