SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The crew of aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) welcomed a 12-year-old boy aboard as honorary commanding officer, Sept. 27.
Twelve-year-old Linus Phillips' special day was brought to him by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to children who have life threatening illnesses.
Stefanie Munoz, a Wish Assistant Coordinator from the San Diego Chapter, said that Make-A-Wish's purpose is to get to the heart of each wish. For Phillips, coming aboard a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier was his ultimate wish.
"This was absolutely amazing. It's just incredible here. I don't think we've seen him have so much fun in a long time," said his parents, Robin and Barbra Phillips. "He's just so happy. He's been bouncing off the walls all morning. This was a huge surprise for Linus and us, we just found out today we were coming aboard Nimitz."
During Phillips' time aboard, he sat down and asked Nimitz Commanding Officer Paul O. Monger a list of questions he brought with him. Phillips, a naval aviation buff, asked questions about the F/A-14 versus the newer F/A-18, and what it was like to fly in combat situations.
"It's always great to talk to people who are so passionate about what we do," said Monger. "Linus has a great personality; he has a sharp, young mind. You could tell he enjoyed it here."
After his time with Monger, Phillips visited Primary Flight Control where he learned about flight deck visual aids and saw how the ship communicates with pilots. More importantly to Phillips though, he spoke over the 5-MC, where he praised the flight deck crew for their hard work.
"It was awesome having him here," said Nimitz Mini Boss [Assistant Air Officer] Cmdr. David Appezzato. "Like I told him, Sailors work hard. [Phillips] being here reminded me of what is important in life, and how important our job really is."
Phillips also received a tour of the flight deck and learned how aircraft take off and how they are recovered, something that Nimitz Air Boatswain Ensign Brian Lewis was glad he and his crew could be a part of.
"It was an honor to have Linus chose to visit Nimitz, especially when there was anything in the world to chose," said Lewis. "I'm glad we [Air department] could be a part of that young man's wish. I hope we met and exceeded his expectations."
Phillips, who resides in Lucerne, Switzerland with his family, grew fond of naval aviation when they resided in Hawaii.
"He's always been fascinated with military aircraft," said his father, Robin. "He wanted to see the most famous Nimitz-class carrier there is, and here we are."
Phillips got the idea of touring an aircraft carrier when he read about another Make-A-Wish Foundation child's wish that came true.
Since the Phillips' live in Switzerland, both the Swiss and San Diego Chapters of Make-A-Wish had to coordinate the tour, a process that took almost 5 months said Munoz.
"Phillips' tour is only a small part of what Make-A-Wish does for children," said Munoz. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year 187 kids from the San Diego area, and 157 more kids that have come to visit San Diego, had their wishes granted.
"Make-A-Wish gets about one to two military wishes a year, and is grateful that the military is so willing to help," said Munoz.
"If you saw the smile on his face you could tell there was a great deal of gratitude," said Monger. "This was a positive experience for the United States Navy and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A lot of individuals went out of their way to ensure Linus' visit was a superb event."
Phillips' day concluded by receiving a Nimitz flight jacket, ball cap, and a command coin before being piped off the ship.
"The ship was fantastic, and so was the crew," said Phillips. "You have a cool job and you should be proud of it."
During his time in San Diego, Calif., Phillips will also visit local attractions such as Sea World, Lego Land, and the USS Midway Memorial Museum.
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.