USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) celebrated what would have been President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday Feb. 6 while underway for a joint task force excersise.
Reagan past away June 5, 2004 at the age of 93.
The ceremony featured a cake-cutting, the singing of "Happy Birthday," and speeches from Sailors personally affected by the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan throughout his lifetime.
"I was born in Transylvania Feb. 6, 1976, and first became familiar with Ronald Reagan through his western movies," said Quartermaster Seaman Ingrid Devin-Kayne. "I didn't know then that he would impact my life so greatly. To share my birthday with the man who dedicated himself to spreading democracy throughout the world means more to me than I can say."
After immigrating to America, Devin-Kayne enlisted in the Navy because she wanted to give back to her country. When the option to serve aboard USS Ronald Reagan arose, Devin-Kayne said she jumped at the chance.
"I asked to come to Ronald Reagan from 'A' school but there were no guarantees," she said. "It was the perfect place for me to be. I'm so happy to have gotten the chance."
Devin-Kayne said she has taken many lessons from the life of Ronald Reagan she now applies to her every day job on the carrier.
"He taught me to communicate with people, to learn and listen," she said. "But most of all, he taught me to fulfill what I say I will do. I like the ship's motto, "Peace through Strength," because it says exactly how to do that—to be strong but keep your cool."
Another Ronald Reagan Sailor greatly influenced by the ship's namesake is Master-at-Arms 1st Class (EXW) Kevin Fahlund, who also spoke at the ceremony.
"For me, Ronald Reagan's impact began a long time ago," he said. "I graduated high school in 1986 and joined the Navy. [Once Reagan was commissioned], I asked to come here, it was something I wanted to do. I wanted to be a part of this family."
With the birth of his daughter, Fahlund made Ronald Reagan's legacy a part of his personal life also.
"I named my daughter Reagan because, as the man himself said, 'freedom is never more than one generation from extinction,'" said Fahlund.
As the crew enjoyed birthday cake in celebration of the legacy of America's 40th president, Devin-Kayne continued to reflect on Reagan's impact on her life.
"Learning English with the help of his western movies was only the beginning," she said. "He taught me that if I have a dream, to never give up. If I make a mistake, I learn from it to get better. He's the reason I'm here in the United States and I'll never forget the impact he had on my life."
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is comprised of USS Ronald Reagan, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which includes USS Preble (DDG 88).
Embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 includes the "Black Knights" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147, the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146, the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.
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