USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic visited aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) June 21 and 22 while the ship was underway in the Arabian Sea supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Rear Adm. Ted N. Branch arrived aboard Enterprise to hear firsthand from Sailors about how well they are able to execute their mission and to identify any concerns or challenges they face while deployed. Branch met with officers, chiefs and junior enlisted Sailors in an effort to better understand issues at all levels.
"Enterprise is a national treasure," said Branch. "I'm glad to come out here, see you and be able to share in some of your glory on this deployment."
After arriving aboard the Big E, Branch was greeted by the visit's hosts, Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, commander of Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (ENTCSG), Capt. William C. Hamilton, Jr., commanding officer of Enterprise, and Capt. Jeffrey L. Trent, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1.
Shortly after his arrival, Branch conducted an all-hands call in the ship's hangar bay where he addressed the crew.
"Enterprise has been around for nearly half of naval aviation's history and you continue to make good news happen all the time," said Branch. "To be on this 50-plus year-old warship, out here supporting Carrier Air Wing 1 and doing the job you guys are doing day in and day out, every day, under very tough conditions, and meeting the mark every day is just phenomenal."
Branch also expressed his appreciation for the hard work of the crew and the success of the carrier's current deployment thus far.
"The reason for that success is you," said Branch. "All of you who are on the team, pulling the load every day. It's a great team out here and you guys are knocking it out of the park on a consistent basis."
Branch also answered questions from Sailors about the future of the ship and what they should expect upon their return to homeport.
"It was great to hear firsthand that while we are deployed, a whole team of folks are making preparations back home for our inactivation," said Lt. Cmdr. Jon Styers, assistant strike operations officer aboard Enterprise. "It makes our homecoming and the eventual inactivation of this historic ship a bittersweet reality."
During his stay aboard Enterprise, Branch met with ECSG, Enterprise and CVW-1 leadership, toured some of the ship's spaces, and ate dinner with junior Sailors on the mess decks. He also ate breakfast with the Chiefs Mess and toured Enterprise's reactor and engineering spaces.
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