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Soldiers, Sailors Work Together Aboard Stennis

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070301-04
Release Date: 3/1/2007 4:37:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Davis Anderson, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- Since USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 arrived and began carrying out their mission in the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operation Feb. 20, a couple of crew members not usually found on aircraft carriers have been providing a critical link between naval air power and ground operations in theater.

The two crew members are U.S. Army Soldiers. Army Maj. Dave Lander and Army Sgt. 1st Class John Reardon joined CVW 9 when they embarked aboard Stennis Jan. 19 in San Diego. Since then, the two have been working in Stennis’ carrier intelligence center (CVIC) and act as liasons between the pilots of CVW-9 and Soldiers on the ground in theater to coordinate operations.

According to Lander, this means converting “Army talk into Navy talk for the pilots and then back into Army talk for the ground forces.”

While the Army doesn’t usually deploy on ships, it is necessary in this case.

“We definitely support both OEF [Operation Enduring Freedom] and OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] operations,” said Lander. “We’ve got the same mission. We bring the ground forces together with the Navy air power in the same place to defeat the enemy.”

The Soldiers admit there are many differences between life on a ship and serving with a ground unit.

“The amenities on board the ship are far better than any forward-operating base or anything you would find on the ground,” said Reardon.

He added that in his time aboard Stennis, he has noticed a few traits Sailors and Soldiers share.

“There is not one [Sailor] that is more important than the other,” said Reardon. “Every single one of them is a member of the team, and we need them all, from plumbers to pilots. They’re part of something that is bigger than themselves, and they realize that. They realize they’re here to support the guys on the ground. They are very professional, and they seem to be excited about it. They’re part of history.”

There is a mutual respect between the Soldiers aboard Stennis and the Navy personnel who work with them.

“This is my fifth cruise in this theater, and I’ve never seen the coordination at the level we have here,” said Cmdr. Robert Jones, operations officer for CVW-9. “We know more walking out the door to our airplane about what’s going on than we ever have before and it’s directly because of these two gentlemen here. Their mere presence on the boat puts kind of a personal face on the mission we’re going out to do. They have smoothed the process and made us more effective as an organization just by being here.”

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