MEDITERRANEAN SEA (NNS) -- A small reunion took place within the admiral's stateroom aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), a reunion that would be remembered and cherished by all involved, March 12.
Two crew members from the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61) made a special visit to the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush to reunite with family members currently serving aboard.
Ensign Bryn Moriarty, electrical officer, and Lt.j.g. Leah M. Fontenot, training officer, both assigned to Ramage, reunited with their fathers Capt. Sean T. Moriarty, chief of staff for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2, and Command Master Chief (CMC) Steve Fontenot, of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31. The daughters toured George H.W. Bush and seized the opportunity to spend time with family members they had not seen for nearly eight months.
"It's a really nice feeling to be able to actually visit each other while we're deployed," said CMC Fontenot. "We would never have predicted that something like this could happen."
With the busy schedules of ships during deployment, the chances of family members meeting during a deployment are scarce and only occur when conditions are convenient and do not interfere with either ship's missions.
"It's very rare for something like this to happen for anyone," said Capt. Moriarty. "This is the first time it has happened to me."
Both families agreed that a reunion would provide a good chance to catch up.
"Without this visit, Master Chief and I would have been more than a year without seeing our kids," said Capt. Moriarty. "This is a really special time for all of us."
Both daughters expressed their joy and surprise that a reunion during deployment was made possible.
"It's an awesome experience to have in the middle of the ocean," said Fontenot. "We didn't expect to see our parents during deployment."
"We were just as excited to see our fathers as they were to see us," said Ensign Moriarty. "I couldn't be happier."
Despite the rarity of these visits, all of the family members had some anticipation that a visit could happen since both ships would be deployed around the same time and place.
"When Ramage left, we knew they were going to be out in the Mediterranean Sea and we knew we were going to head out there too," said Capt. Moriarty. "From the beginning, we knew there was a possibility that we might cross paths."
Despite their busy schedules, both fathers and daughters found a way to see each other.
"There were shipmates who were trying to work something out for us, but you know how easily schedules can change, so initially I didn't want to get my hopes up," said Ensign Moriarty.
The fact that their daughters were actually arriving on board brought up immense joy for both fathers.
"I was moved to tears when I realized this meeting was actually happening," said CMC Fontenot.
"I just couldn't contain my emotions knowing I would see my daughter again."
"I was very excited when I heard this was going to happen," said Capt. Moriarty. "The reunion was a great treat for all of us."
Both fathers got to spend quality time with their daughters and catch up on how each other's deployment is going.
"My goal was to be able to sit down with her and have some quality time to talk for a while," said CMC Fontenot.
Capt. Moriarty had additional plans for their visit to George H.W. Bush and admits that he wanted to give them knowledge they could take away from their brief visit to George H.W. Bush.
"Because they spend a lot of time on a DDG doing an independent deployment and not operating around a carrier very much, I wanted to show them the experience of life on a carrier," said Capt. Moriarty. "This is a good experience for them to learn new things too. Junior officers don't often get the opportunity to see how the strike group staff operates and how everyone fits in."
"It's not just a reunion," said Capt. Moriarty, laughing. "There's a little bit of education going on too. Part of the plan was to show them our work environment so they can understand how the battle group operates. But it's still really cool to have them here."
Both daughters were thankful to their fathers and everyone involved that made their visit an enjoyable experience, even with the added education they received.
"I definitely learned a lot from watching the flight operations and seeing what happens up there," said Ensign Moriarty.
"I have studied much about carrier operations before," said Fontenot. "So it's pretty cool to actually see it for the first time."
The daughters look forward to seeing their fathers again upon their return home from deployment.
"It was very nice to have the opportunity to have the reunion out here," said Ensign Moriarty. "We thank everyone involved who made this visit possible, and we wish a safe deployment and return home for our fathers and their shipmates."
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.