Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Big 'E' Pulls Into Palma After 75 Days Underway
110624-N-WO496-001 SUEZ CANAL (June 24, 2011) A Sailor aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) stands watch as Enterprise transits the Suez Canal. Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 are conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex R. Forster/Released)
USS Enterprise (CVN 65) arrived in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, June 28 after sailing 75 days in support of maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).
This port visit will be the last liberty call for Enterprise crew members before the carrier begins the final stretch of its journey across the Atlantic Ocean to its homeport of Norfolk, Va.
"I think this is a great homecoming gift after all of the work we've done," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Anthony Watson, a member of Enterprise's supply department, who plans to try Spanish cuisine while in Palma, located on the island of Mallorca.
Enterprise Sailors are encouraged to take advantage of the beauty of Palma but to also remember the need to set a good example while exploring the famed Spanish vacation destination.
"This is a well-deserved break, and we plan to continue to represent our ship well," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Kalin G. Honda, the leading petty officer for ordnance work center for Enterprise's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department.
Honda said the Sailors in his department have earned their time in port with their consistent work providing in-house repair support to keep Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1's jets in the air while supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn in the 5th Fleet AOR.
The carrier's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) division organized a variety of events that include wine tasting, kayaking, hiking, and other tours for crew members to discover the historic countryside of Palma.
Aviation Machinist's Mate (AW/SW) Aubrie N. Blair, the corrosion and control leading petty officer for Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, said she plans to visit Mallorca's famous Lake Martel, the largest underground lake in the world along with the beautiful Coves Del Drach. She said she'd also like to see a pearl factory, as Mallorca artificial pearls are known for their quality. She even plans to take a trip to an amusement park.
"It's a chance to have fun and experience a new culture, plus I get a free lunch on one of the tours," said Blair. "It's great that I didn't have to search for any of these sites- I just had to go to MWR."
"To me, this is a tremendous opportunity," said Marine Cpt. Douglas Proctor, an F/A-18C Pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251. "There are Marines and Sailors out in Afghanistan for 10 months, in combat, who face their deployment and then come straight home without a chance to see the rest of the world. It's great to be able to stop at a port and take in someplace new."
Proctor will have an additional joy waiting for him in Palma, as his wife is flying out to see him on the island.
Most aboard Enterprise will not have the opportunity to see friends and family until the aircraft pulls into Mayport, Fla., when the ship picks up its "Tigers," or family and friends who embark the ship for the transit home. Others will not see loved ones until Enterprise pulls into its homeport, Norfolk, Va. But until that time, Palma affords the Enterprise's crew members a chance to see a different part of the world.
"It's a great boost- the last thing to do before homecoming," said Watson. "I've never been to any part of Spain before, and Palma sounds like one of those places you just have to visit."
Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing 1 are in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations.