SAN DIEGO — This Memorial Day weekend, 5,000 active-duty men and women are training aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, about 100 miles off our San Diego coast. CBS 8’s Brian White joined the crew on the aircraft carrier for two days while at sea.
“I am a United States sailor. I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” chanted a group of sailors as they recited the
"Sailor’s Creed," a ritual they perform every morning.
“I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world. I proudly serve my country’s Navy Combat Team with honor, courage, and commitment.”
The sailors are training with Carrier Strike Group 11 as part of a work-up in preparation for their real deployment in December.
“The nation is appreciative but I don’t think they understand how much we ask of these sailors,” said Lt. Commander Clint Tergeson. As head of the Deck Department, his sailors are tasked with handling the ship’s anchors, which weigh 30 tons a piece. For Tergeson, Memorial Day is special.
“We really should never forget the sacrifices that others have made,” said Lt. Commander Clint Tergeson. “There’s people that don’t have a father anymore or mother anymore or a son or a daughter and look at your family and put yourself in that situation to really realize how serious that would be.”
CBS 8 caught up with MM1 Caleb Richards in the mess hall during lunch as he shared his feelings about this special weekend.
“Memorial Day’s always a little hard for me,” said MM1 Richards. “Lost an uncle back in Iraq in 2007. Lost six other sailors since I’ve joined so it does get a little hard for me because I got very specific people that I’ve got to remember so it’s a little rough but my memory is there. We serve for them. We serve for the families.”
Up on the flight deck, the Air Wing stays busy helping pilots meet their qualifications for landings and takeoffs. 3rd Class Petty Officer Markus Owens feels gratitude toward those who have gone before him.
“I want to say thank you to all the people who have passed, the veterans, all the people who are serving right now,” said 3rd Class Petty Officer Owens. “I want to say thank you to all my shipmates, soldiers, everybody out there.”
For Rear Admiral Christopher Sweeney, this is a time to for remembrance.
“It’s really the people that have gone before us that have sacrificed their lives,” said Rear Admiral Sweeney. “And their families have given their time and attention to make sure they could sail over the horizon and do the nation’s bidding.”
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