Chairman, Celebrities Visit Sailors Aboard USS Ronald Reagan
American Forces Press Service
USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea, July 13, 2009 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several celebrities embarked USS Ronald Reagan today to visit sailors while the ship operated in the Gulf of Oman in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addresses the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Mullen was aboard the carrier to thank the crew for their service and operational support. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
During the one-day visit, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen met with sailors in Ronald Reagan's hangar bay to express how proud he was of their performance and said it was a privilege to be aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
"You're out here on point, putting your lives on the line, and you make a job that's inherently dangerous look easy," Mullen said. "Thank you for what you do."
The chairman also reenlisted 11 sailors during his visit.
"This is about starting a new chapter in my life, and to have the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reenlist me is just the icing on the cake," Petty Officer 3rd Class Heather Milligan said. "It's something I'll be able to look back on and think what an amazing moment it was."
This is Milligan's fourth deployment aboard Ronald Reagan, and she said she's interested in becoming an officer.
"I feel like there's still so much I can accomplish in the Navy," she said. "I love my job, and I know what I'm doing while I'm at sea is making a difference."
Several celebrities, sponsored by the USO, travelled with Mullen to visit the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier including actors Bradley Cooper and D.B. Sweeney, National Football League Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, and model and media correspondent Leeann Tweeden.
"I think it's great any time celebrities visit the ship," said Petty Officer 1st Class Noel Barker. "Its not that often people get the opportunity to meet celebrities; that lifts the morale of the crew."
Sailors took pictures with the celebrities and received their autographs.
"I just saw 'Wedding Crashers' with Bradley Cooper, so I wanted to meet him the most. To top it off, he was great and very genuine," Petty Officer 2nd Class Mercedes Ortega said. "I just feel privileged, because they have a busy schedule, so for them to come out shows they really care about what we're doing here."
(From a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. 5th Fleet news release.)