PORTSMOUTH, Va (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Sailors past and present celebrated the ship's 13th anniversary of its commissioning July 25.
The Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has deployed five times since its commissioning in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. During that time, Truman earned the Battle "E" six times, and is the only carrier to be a two-time winner of the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Award, which is a Chief of Naval Operations award presented annually to one ship in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and one in the U.S. Pacific Fleet for being deemed the most "battle-ready" ship.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) (AW/SW) 1st Class Travis C. Phillips, an original Truman Sailor who is now serving on Truman for the second time, said he is proud to be a part of Truman's history.
Phillips rejoined Truman for a second tour September 2009 and was involved in both the first and 100,000th launch and recovery.
"Being there for the first one was like 'wow, it happened,' but we didn't really know how big of a deal it was at the time," said Phillips. "But now, 13 years later, being part of the 100,000th aircraft recovery, you really notice how much the ship's been through."
"This is where my Navy career started," said Phillips. "Everything was brand new. I can remember how hot it was standing on the pier during the commissioning in my dress whites. Then, I came back eight years later and can [see] the changes that occurred over five deployments."
One thing that has not changed on Truman is the high standards the command requires its Sailors to adhere to, according to Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW/SW) Ernest Black, an original Truman Sailor who rejoined Truman in November 2008.
"I knew all of our effort was put into building a good foundation," said Black. "Coming back to it now and seeing the track record Truman has with all the awards received and all the humanitarian efforts we do, I think 'wow,' because I didn't know 10 to 12 years ago that Truman would be the ship it is and have the history and the name that it does now. It is pretty impressive."
Because of Truman's achievements and the impact it has had on his career, Black said he is doing everything he can to pass on the Truman way of business to Sailors who follow him.
"There's a big personnel turnover, and the ship needs to transition with Sailors who will keep Truman the way it is now," said Black. "We've been doing it for the last 13 years, and it has to continue. I feel that is one of my roles in that regard."
Aside from Truman's major achievements and impacts, Black said he especially admired Truman aiding with relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"Seeing Truman assist in different areas of the world is very impactful," said Black. "I think that holds more weight than anything else that we do. Any ship can go to war, but not every ship can go out and give support. I think that is a big part of who we are."
Truman is currently undergoing a Dry-dock Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard and is scheduled to return to the fleet in the summer of 2012.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.