6 babies help greetTwo Pearl Harbor youngsters celebrated their birthdays yesterday by welcoming home their fathers who spent the last six months in the Northern Arabian Sea participating in America's war against terrorism.
Navy ships return
The cruiser Port Royal spent a
tiring half year in the Arabian Sea
By Gregg K. Kakesako
Both fathers are assigned to the guided-missile cruiser Port Royal.
Seven-year-old Mathan Martir planned to take his dad, Chief Petty Officer Jovey Martir, for an all-you-can eat sushi birthday celebration, while 9-year-old Jessica Metz had lined up a pizza dinner with her dad, Chief Petty Officer Mark Metz.
The Port Royal and its crew of 400 men and women left Pearl Harbor Nov. 17 to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom, two months earlier than anticipated, to join the aircraft carrier USS Stennis battlegroup, which was comprised of seven ships and two submarines.
Yesterday, the 1,000-foot carrier, the oiler USS Bridge as well as the frigate USS Jarrett pulled into Pearl Harbor for a few days rest before returning to their home port of San Diego.
In support of Operation Anaconda, which is part of Enduring Freedom, jet fighters from the Stennis conducted flight operations for 11 days against targets in Afghanistan. Stennis aviators flew 1,898 strike sorties and logged 13,592 hours.
The Navy estimated that Stennis jet fighters dropped 275,000 pounds of ordnance.
Capt. Lee Geanuleas, commander of the Port Royal, said the high point of the six-month deployment was that night in mid-December when the Stennis launched its first airstrike.
"It was midnight," Geanuleas recalled. "The skies were clear and the stars were out. It was very impressive."
Geanuleas said the Port Royal's main job was to coordinate the defense of the air space above the Stennis battlegroup for a coalition force of 100 ships.
"It was tiring," he added, "but it was a good type of tiring ... Every sailor on our ship knew what his or her duty was."
Geanuleas said that despite having to leave Oahu two months earlier than planned, "the ship performed magnificently ... we were ready to respond to the mission."
During Port Royal's absence, six babies were born.
Getting to hold his 3-month-old son Jacob for the first time yesterday, Petty Officer Isaac Cadavona called him his "pride and joy." He said he was looking forward to "shore duty" and having his hands filled being a dad.
BACK TO TOP