By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro
YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 21, 2014) – More than 3,000 Sailors stationed aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and their families attended the annual command-sponsored pre-deployment fair at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), April 18.
The fair provided over 30 booths covering topics on Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), legal, medical, the ship’s Command Religious Ministries Department (CRMD) and the ship’s Ombudsman.
“This fair gives our Sailors an opportunity to walk up and collect information services provided for them, which properly helps prepare them before the ship goes on patrol,” said George Washinton’s Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt.
Brahmsteadt added that the goal of the fair is to ensure the crew and their families are deployment ready.
“This is an opportunity for Sailors to pause and reflect on certain elements in their lives that might go overlooked,” said Lt. Glen Kitzman, a chaplain aboard George Washington and CRMD’s division officer. “Due to the operational pace of being forward deployed, we don’t often stop to consider details that are required and ensure our Sailors are properly informed in areas such as legal, medical, safety and our ombudsman program.”
Ombudsman are representatives appointed by the commanding officer who are responsible for providing a direct line of communication between the command and its Sailors’ family members.
“We’re here to help Sailors and their families get through the stresses of deployment and let them know there are people here to help even though their spouse might be at sea,” said Sharmana Perkins, an ombudsman for George Washington.
This year marks the ships sixth-annual pre-deployment fair at CFAY.
“I went underway with the ship last year, but this event really reminded me of some things that I should be taking into consideration as we prepare to go on patrol,” said Logistics Specialist Seaman Vincent Snyder, from Fayateville, N.C. “It’s nice to have fairs like this that help get you into the mindset of being going on patrol.”