Chief Petty Officer Edward Harris, the son of Nis and Carolyn Kildegaard of Edgartown, recently reconnected via Facebook with an old Island friend, Brian Packish, as he neared the end of a nine-month deployment on the nuclear aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman. Mr. Packish, an Oak Bluffs landscaper, sent a care package to Chief Harris and his waist catapult crew, containing movies, goodies, copies of the Martha’s Vineyard Times and a specially printed set of his company tee-shirts.
It’s been a tradition in the Navy for many years for crews to have their photos taken at the end of deployments together. Last week, on the final leg of their voyage back to the Truman’s Navy base in Virginia, the waist catapult team posed for this portrait on the deck of the carrier, with Chief Harris at far left, all wearing their tee-shirts from Packish Landscape Construction.
The carrier, flagship of the Harry S. Truman Strike Group, departed Norfolk last July with its crew of more than 4,000 and on March 19 launched the last of its sorties in support of the war in Afghanistan before beginning the long trip home. The young men and women on Chief Harris’s team launched more than 10,500 aircraft during their deployment, and visited ports in Bahrain; Dubai; Marseille, France, and Palma de Mallorca, Spain.