October 15, 2004
Lincoln deploys to Persian Gulf
William H. McMichael
Times staff writer
EVERETT, Wash. — The hum of machinery filling the pier was momentarily dwarfed by a single blast from the huge ship’s horn. For the first time since its marathon 10-month cruise to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the carrier Abraham Lincoln pulled away from its berth at Everett Naval Station just before 8 a.m. Friday to begin another deployment.
The Lincoln returned from its previous deployment in May 2003.
The ship, Carrier Air Wing 2 and its strike group are scheduled to spend the cruise in the Western Pacific, officials said.
Sailors had to be aboard by 5 a.m., leaving the pier nearly empty save for a few dozen family members who came out to bid their loved ones farewell on a gray, misty morning in Puget Sound.
One woman on the pier sat alone on a concrete ramp, her head buried in her hands. Others stood and watched, straining to see their sailors, many in their dress blues, manning the rails. For many, particularly the younger spouses, it was the first time they’ve watched a deployment begin.
“I’m gonna miss him,” said a calm Susan Turner, 19, of her husband, Aerographer’s Mate Seaman Apprentice Travis Turner. “But it’s his job. It’s what he has to do. I’ll support him in whatever he does.”
Susan, standing with their 10-month old son, Kaleb, seated a stroller, said she and Travis were married in June. She is 2½ months’ pregnant with their second child, she said.
As the ship pulled away, she walked down the pier wiping tears from her eyes.
“It’s very sad,” said Maria Gomez, watching her husband, Lt. Robert Gomez, deploy for the first time in their two-year marriage. She said she had thought the Lincoln would not deploy until May. But she seemed to be taking things in stride. “Welcome to the Navy life,” she said with a wide smile. “That’s what they say.”
For others, the deployment was a time-tested ritual. Katrina Dunning, wife of Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Kenneth Dunning, said she couldn’t remember how many deployments he’d made in their 13-year marriage. “I can’t count that high,” she said, laughing.
Katrina was cradling their 3-week old son, Garrett, and stood with sons Connor, 7, and Trevor, 5.
“I still think it’s important for them to see the ship leave so they know why Daddy’s not coming home for dinner,” she said.
Truman, support ships depart
Navy vessels leave East Coast to spend about six months supporting the war on terror
BY SONJA BARISIC
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Oct 14, 2004
NORFOLK - The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, which had jets dropping bombs early in the Iraq war, pulled out of port yesterday to head back to the region.
The nearly 7,600 sailors aboard the Truman and the support ships that will protect it can expect to be gone about six months on the planned deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf.
"It's difficult, but we've got a job to do," said Airman Erin Bentele, 23, of Silverdale, Wash. She is among the two-thirds of the Truman's 5,500 sailors who were also aboard the carrier when the war began in March 2003.
"We're in it for the people back here," Bentele said. "We want to make sure we have freedom, and we want to get rid of terrorism."
Early in the Iraq war, ships in the Truman strike group launched Tomahawk missiles onto targets in northern Iraq, and jets taking off from the Truman dropped bombs to support U.S. infantry and special-operations forces on the ground. The carrier returned from that deployment in May 2003.
For security reasons, Navy officials would not say exactly where the ships are headed this time or exactly what they will be doing.
"There's a sure bet we'll be passing through the Med and heading over to where everybody else is going," said Capt. James P. Gigliotti, commanding officer of the Norfolk-based Truman. "We will be engaged as required, as desired, and we will be not just a presence but a force to be reckoned with, if they need us."
About 200 family members and friends gathered outside the gate at Pier 14 at Norfolk Naval Station to see the Truman depart beneath cloudy skies.
Martha Urban of Elyria, Ohio, was proud of her son, 20-year-old Airman Jeffrey Crumpler. But she was also scared because Crumpler was deploying for the first time.
"It's the unknown. It doesn't take a war for someone to be injured," said Urban, who wore a button-down shirt designed to look like an American flag.
Her husband, Al, stood next to her with a red, white and blue scarf sticking out of a back pocket of his jeans.
"We're excited for him, too, for what he's about to see: the world," Al Urban added.
Sarah Rowe of Manassas was extremely worried about her deploying daughter, Yeoman 2nd Class Rosetta Saddler, 28, of Warrenton. "The last time I felt this scared was when I sent her off to college," she said.
Deployments at this time of the year can be especially tough because service members will be separated from their loved ones during the holidays.
"I've already done my Christmas shopping, so they'll see a part of Daddy is there," Staff Sgt. Bryan Crawford said of his three children. Crawford, 33, of Clearwater, Fla., is one of about 150 Marines deploying aboard the Truman who arrived in Norfolk by bus from Beaufort, S.C., where their fighter squadron is based.
Crawford was also prepared to be overseas during the Nov. 2 presidential election; he's voting by absentee ballot.
Accompanying the Truman out of Norfolk were the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey and the guided missile destroyers USS Barry and USS Mason.
Thats my old battle group
Don't tell the Survival Forum about this, they say that this deployment is proof the world is going to end.
It's about time. Parking is getting to be a bitch with all the carriers that have been inport since summer surge.
I was with her in McInerney '90-'91 and again in '93
Where's the "this thread is useless without pics!" icon when you need it....