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Face of Defense: Navy Relatives Reunite at Sea

From a U.S. 7th Fleet News Release

BUSAN, South Korea, March 5, 2014 – Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aleasha Gatewood, assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet Staff embarked on the flagship USS Blue Ridge, had a rare opportunity to spend time with her aunt, Navy Lt. j.g. Aricka Faulkner, while underway in support of the ongoing Key Resolve 2014 exercise.

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Navy Lt. j.g. Aricka Faulkner, left, and her niece, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aleasha Gatewood, share a rare opportunity to reunite while on deployment supporting the joint U.S.-South Korea exercise Key Resolve 2014. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Toni Burton

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

This is the second visit the two have had on board Blue Ridge in the last seven months, as Faulkner participated in the joint U.S.-South Korea exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian in August.

“It was fantastic to see her, and I am so proud of what she has accomplished since she has arrived on board as an E-2 three years ago and is now a second class petty officer,” Faulkner said. “I have only heard positive reactions from the people she works for.”

Faulkner is a Navy reserve officer assigned to the Navy Reserve Component Command for 7th Fleet based out of Fort Worth, Texas. When taking a break from her full-time career as a flight operations manager for FedEx, she fulfills her naval commitments by spending four weeks a year participating in 7th Fleet exercises. Gatewood, a culinary specialist, is permanently assigned to the 7th Fleet team and has worked in the flag mess since 2011.

“It was great to see her during this exercise, as we live so far away,” Gatewood said. “She gives me advice about my naval career.”

The two are from a proud family of female veterans, with another aunt, as well as Gatewood’s own mother, all serving in the Navy.

“As the junior-ranking member of my family serving in the Navy, I only wish to be as great as my mother and aunts, who have accomplished so much in their careers,” Gatewood said.

Throughout their busy schedules, the aunt and niece said, they managed to spend quality time together catching up Faulkner said she plans on treating Gatewood and her friends to a nice meal while on liberty in the next port visit.


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