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One day closer

This blog post, written on Sunday August 14, 2011, is the second in a series by Rear Admiral Craig Faller, Commander Carrier Strike Group 3 .  USS John C. Stennis is currently on a seven-month deployment in the Pacific.

PACIFIC OCEAN (August 11, 2011) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Eightballers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 sits on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).

Three weeks of deployment has quickly evaporated into the steamy, warm winds of the Pacific.

A good, daily rhythm has settled across the strike group which helps us focus, plan, train and safely operate.   We continue to prepare ourselves with a goal of safe and effective operations in both the seventh and fifth fleet area of operations.  Our focus and repetition at sea is buoyed with bursts of information from home via phone calls, emails, and mail.  Sometimes the flow of information from family and friends is slowed because we are too far from land to send our carrier onboard delivery aircraft (COD) for the mail or the nature of our operations causes us to secure off ship communications.  I continue to remind both my family at home and strike group team that this deployment won’t last forever, however our service (yes the families share in this sacrifice and service!) will make a positive difference in many lives long after these months of separation are behind us.

Amidst the deployment rhythm we constantly remind ourselves that there is nothing routine about operating the worlds’ most powerful warships and technologically advanced aircraft in combat missions.  Yes, we certainly plan and look ahead, but we are locked on today’s operations with a mindset of safety first. Focusing on our mission today also helps time speed by, while covering many miles and time zones adds to the surety that we are again one day closer to completing our mission.

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