its been a month since i returned from welcoming my brother, blair, home from deployment. he spent a little over six months on the uss nimitz which left seattle on june 1st and returned on dec 10th. the nimitz was home to over 5500 soldiers including an air wing for those 6 months, basically making it a small city at sea. they completed a lot of different air and sea missions during that time in the persian gulf and pacific, many of which you probably read about in the news. my brother is the "dento" of the ship, meaning he runs the dentist and oral surgery department on the ship. he's been in the navy for 16 years, he joined just after september 11th, and this is his second deployment. like my dad who was a navy fighter pilot in vietnam, i look at him as a hero.
this is a deeply personal project, and so i went into the week open minded and not knowing what i would see, learn, experience. much less my eight year old daughter, johnsie. johnsie loved every minute of the experience, and watching her soak it in only brightened my time there too. we were allowed on the ship as part of the "tiger cruise" program. friends and family (minus spouses) of deployed service members on the ship can ride from port to port once the ship is back in US waters. blair is seven years older than me so ive always looked up to him, and this experience only magnified that relationship. ive never been prouder of my brother. he and his family sacrificed 6 months of freedom to protect ours. what these families and soldiers endure in those six months are probably hard to put into words, and recap....maybe because they dont really want to go back there yet. attempting to recap what i experienced in 5 days has been daunting, so i try to tell my story through my images and i hope they give you a glimpse into life there.
im so glad my brother is home with his supportive and loving wife, and his smart and awesome boys. cheers to the next chapter in his navy career as a captain and to continuing to make his lil sis very proud.