US Aircraft Carrier Hosts Pre-Deployment Fair
More than 3,000 Sailors from the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and their families took part in a command-sponsored pre-deployment fair April 2.
The goal of the fair is to ensure the crew and their families are deployment ready.
Sailors had the opportunity to visit more than 20 booths featuring legal, financial, medical, religious and even Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)information and advice in order to create a more stable foundation for themselves and their dependents when the ship pulls out on its next patrol.
“This is something we do every year and it’s first and foremost for the Sailors… especially for the single Sailors that are deploying for the first time,” said Lt. Benjamin Howard, a command chaplain stationed aboard George Washington. “Right at their fingertips, this give them the information that they will need while on deployment.”
“I think the ombudsman is one of the best booths offered,” said Religious Programs Specialist 3rd Class Micchicco Hunter, one of more than 3,000 Sailors who attended. “Ombudsman acts as the link between the Sailors and their families. We have a lot of people coming to the chapel who miss their families while deployed and ombudsman really help keep that connection open.”
Ombudsman are representative of the commanding officer, responsible for establishing and maintaining current and accurate communication between the command and its family members.
“I liked the Family Readiness Group (FRG) and MWR booths,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Recruit Jessica Keener-Dragoo, a newly arriving Sailor to the George Washington. “They gave us a lot of information, a lot of things to do and everyone was very friendly and nice. I didn’t know anything when I got here, but I feel I learned a lot and feel that my family will be taken care of.”
The FRG is an integral part of a support service network that bundles key support services such as Ombudsmen, Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSCs), chaplains, school liaison officers and child development centers at the command level.
“It may seem tedious at first glance, but if Sailors take advantage of the information that is given here, it will benefit them in the long run,” said Howard.
This year marks George Washington’s fourth pre-deployment fair at Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) and officials hope the event continues to get better each year.
George Washington is currently pier side in Yokosuka, Japan and making preparations to return to sea.
Naval Today Staff , April 06, 2012;