By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danica M. Sirmans, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (NNS) -- "Hey! There she is," he yelled as he scrambled to his feet. He ran over with arms wide open, his smile all teeth and lips rolled so far back that you could see his gums. They embraced and rocked each other from side to side like children, latching on to their first prized stuffed animal at the neighborhood fair.
"It's been years," she said through her smile and tears.
Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Katrine Green is a Sailor aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). She and Carl Vinson's crew are set to return home following an 8-month deployment after being relieved by the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) April 13. But, before making the long voyage back to San Diego, Green and a few of her shipmates flew to TR for breakfast and a chance to reunite with family assigned to TR.
Green lost her aunt during her deployment so she was especially grateful to see her cousin, Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Cofer.
"I haven't seen him in over two years," said Green. "If it wasn't for this opportunity, it would have been at least three years before I'd be able to see him again."
TR culinary specialists catered the event, held on the mess deck, and Logistics Specialist 1st Class Dante Davis, TR's resident disc jockey, provided the music.
"It feels good to catch up," said Cofer. "It really feels like a family reunion but out to sea."
The mess deck's passageways buzzed as onlookers briskly walked past, craning their necks to see what all the commotion was about.
Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Gary Seibel helped coordinate the event and talked about why he thought it was important.
"The morale of our Sailors is essential to the mission," said Seibel. "This was an important opportunity for these Sailors to see each other. It really helps cut the time they wouldn't have seen each other in half."
Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Allison Brilla, one of TR's Morale, Welfare and Recreation representatives, seized the opportunity to see her cousin, Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Darla Holston.
"I found out about the opportunity at our muster one day," said Brilla. "I was happy that I'd get to see [my cousin] because I haven't seen her in so long. We've both been in the Navy for two years but we haven't seen each other since before boot camp."
"We have completely different lives but we're in the same Navy," said Holston. "That's what makes this opportunity so cool because we have so much to talk about and so much to catch up on. Seeing her helps make being out to sea a lot easier. We won't be so behind the next time I see her."
Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Adolfo Fuentes, assigned to the Rooks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, enlisted in the Navy the same day as his older cousin, Carl Vinson Sailor Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Louie Terraras.
"We're basically Navy brothers," said Terraras. "We're literally following the cadence: start together, finish together. We went to 'A' school together and here we are. When I found out TR would be relieving us, it just felt right."
"He had it and now I've got it," Fuentes quipped.
Theodore Roosevelt deployed from Norfolk and will execute a homeport shift to San Diego at the conclusion of deployment.
"It's amazing how it worked out, we'll both be in San Diego for a little," said Fuentes. "We've been trying to get orders to the same place for a while but we haven't had much luck."
The Carl Vinson group visited for two hours and wrapped up their conversations with hugs and promises.
"I'm going to send you lots of letters and care packages," said Green as she and Cofer embraced one last time. "See you on the West Coast."
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group will operate in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region.