So what have I been up to while I was gone? My ship was out doing operations with the other ships that will deploy with us as well as the MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) that will embark. Our strike group consists of a large deck amphib (my ship), two other amphibs, two destroyers and a cruiser (oh and there will be a sub that's nominally attached to us). During the past three weeks we did various formations with the other ships and anchored often to do operations with the Marines. We embarked about 2000 Marines on board my ship, both ground troups and the ACE (air combat element). To put the number in perspective, we have about 1100 Sailors permanently attached to my ship. Bringing the Marines on board fills us up to capacity. We did a lot of flight operations for the ACE to get their carrier quals and do some missions as well. The past three weeks were dress rehearsals for when we embark the Marines for deployment later this year. Here are some pics from the last few weeks.
One of the destroyers coming alongside for underway replenishment practice
The best part was coming home yesterday. Our ship organized a family day cruise so our families came out to meet the ship in LCUs (landing craft utility). I spent the day showing my parents, FIL and SIL around the ship. I took them to engineering, the flight deck, my stateroom, the wardroom, the bridge and other various places. We enjoyed the wonderful weather that we were blessed with coming in. Here's one of my favorite pics of the day - me and my mom on the 07 level.
Hope you all have a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. Please remember all those that are serving and have served in the Armed Forces (both in the US and wherever you may be from) this weekend. I'm going to enjoy spending time with my family. Happy Stitching!