USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) have been participating in the United Through Reading program while underway on their scheduled deployment, June 24.
United Through Reading, a program which allows Sailors and Marines to record themselves reading books and send the videos to their families, has created a more intimate way of staying connected with loved ones.
"It gives an opportunity to young children to stay familiar with their parent's face and voice while the parent is gone," said Lt. Marcus Creighton, the program coordinator. "It is a morale lifter for families to see their Sailor, and a morale booster for Sailors when they get responses and get to see their kids."
The program is available to anyone deployed, free of charge and all supplies such as discs, books, cases and envelopes are all provided.
Additionally, the ship's Chief Petty Officer's Mess covers the shipping cost, said Creighton.
More than 500 Sailors and Marines have taken advantage of the program since getting underway.
"One thing I do at home is read my kids stories; so United Through Reading brings me back home for them, and they still get stories from their dad," said Damage Controlman 1st Class Ryan Cassidy.
The program is not limited to immediate family. It can also be used to send videos to nieces, nephews or other family members as well.
"If you want to read your grandmother a book, this program allows you to do so," said Aviation Ordnanceman Stephanie Mitchell, assistance program coordinator.
"United Through Reading gives Sailors and Marines the opportunity to connect with families in a more personal way without paying for the phones or relying on emails," said Cassidy.
Mitchell says the program also serves as a stress reliever for children who are dealing with being away from a parent for an extended period of time.
"Being able to hear their parent's voices and see their faces throughout the deployment helps ease the anxiety and transition challenges that some children experience during reunions after deployments are over," said Mitchell.
United Through Reading was founded in 1989 with a mission of uniting families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.
Ronald Reagan CSG is comprised of Ronald Reagan, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which includes guided-missile destroyer 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.
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and the Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit http://www.public.navy.mil/airfor/cvn76 or visit the Official USS Ronald Reagan Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ussronaldreagan.
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) - Ronald Reagan Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.