Stripes asked: What will you remember most about your time on the USS Kitty Hawk?
Petty Officer 2nd Class Fruquann Powers, 29, Brooklyn, N.Y.:"I came from the East Coast and it was difficult to adjust at first – there are a lot of people coming from different backgrounds and different places." Powers said his work colleagues and friendly Japanese people helped him through the transition.
Seaman Jonathan Forment, 20, from Jacksonville, Fla.:"The culture – it’s very different from the U.S. in terms of the language, community and how people treat each other. I’ll miss my co-workers; I won’t miss the liberty restrictions."
Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles Harris, 37, Myrtle Beach, S.C.: "Under a previous captain, we were on the ship in a typhoon. It was stirring – basically a 12-hour roller coaster ride. We were all doing our ‘Spider-Man’ impersonations in the p-ways."
Petty Officer 1st Class Jonizel Sioson, 29, Jacksonville, Fla.:"I’ll miss the camaraderie with my friends and learning, working for, and striving to be the best. The new crew is in for a rude awakening with the op tempo of the forward deployed naval forces. It shocked me."
Petty Officer 3rd Class David Santiago, 23, Fresno, Calif.: "Kitty Hawk is rusting, the paint is peeling – she’s an old bird but she takes care of us."
Petty Officer 2nd Class Rudy Liverpool, 36, Philadelphia:"I liked the historic aspect of the ship – I’ve been on nuclear carriers and I like being able to say that I was stationed here. I also got to meet Vice President Dick Cheney when he was here."
Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles Lok, 23, Cuero, Texas:"The cherry blossoms in Kamakura, when you walk down the pathway in the middle of town; it’s just pink and beautiful everywhere as you’re walking up to see the Buddha."
Petty Officer 3rd Class Elliot Knaack, 20, San Antonio:"I’ll remember putting on third (class) here. Kitty Hawk was my first command so it’ll always be pretty memorable. After I go to C-school I’ll mostly be stationed on smaller ships, so this might be my last carrier."
Petty Officer 1st Class Antonio Bustonera, 43, Cherry Hill, N.J.:"I’ll remember the places we went, the people we met, my shipmates and getting my warfare pins while stationed here."
Chief Petty Officer Pablo Rosado, 38, Brooklyn, N.Y.:"From flight class to general quarters, what I’m going to remember most about the Kitty Hawk is training sailors."
Petty Officer 1st Class Ariel Santiago, 41, Philippines:"I was really fortunate to have gotten this assignment. I’m in charge of the cargo; we supplied the galley with everything they needed. The Kitty Hawk has been a very enjoyable experience. I’ll remember my day-in, day-out activities on the ship and also the time I spent out exploring Japanese culture. I’m going to miss it."
Petty Officer 2nd Class James Shaw, 27, San Diego:"The cheesy bars. A Japanese club owner threw a going-away party just for me at a bar in Roppongi. He brought in some singers. I did some karaoke of Otis Day and the Knights. I like oldies."
Petty Officer 2nd Class Matt Long, 28, Baltimore:Long was previously stationed aboard Kitty Hawk before transferring to shore duty. Now that he’s back, he says he’s come to appreciate the standard set by his Kitty Hawk shipmates, and that’s what he’ll remember most."I basically started at a good level, dropped down and then came back up to a good level of working experience. Everyone knows what they’re doing and they work hard. It’s a good team effort."
Seaman Henry Leachman, 22, Hot Springs, Ark.:"Hong Kong was a blast. We pulled in and they had a reception for us in the hangar bay. Some Chinese nationals came aboard. The reception was fun and then going out in Hong Kong was a lot of fun."
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Veronica Hanna, 43, Ashtabula, Ohio:"The guys that work for me. They’ve made my tour here very easy for me. And then, coming to the Kitty Hawk, being a newly commissioned officer and then sailing on board the oldest ship in the Navy, that was really great for me and that’s one of the things I will remember."
Lt. Charles Dickerson, 32, Detroit:"I would definitely say the opportunity to shape the corpsmen that we have on board. The corpsmen have responded to all manner of casualties all over the ship, and just to be able to help them grow as sailors and professionals is what I’ll remember most."
Lt. j.g. Chris Smith, 34, Denver:"I’ll remember just being given the opportunity to lead the ship’s finest division of young men and women. We’re the guys who respond to all the casualties, the fires and flooding; we make it happen every day."
Petty Officer 1st Class Damon Leopoldo, 32, Big Island, Hawaii:"The Japanese culture and the good food, but mostly a lot of hard work, especially from our junior folks. This is different from a stateside carrier with all the restrictions that the E-1 through E-3 guys have to deal with. Even with all of that, they work through it and they get the job done. I’ll always remember that. Awesome junior folks."
Petty Officer 1st Class Rian Niblack, 36, Lakeland, Fla.""The liberty ports. I had a lot of good times at the liberty ports. We stay out a lot, but while we’re out we get to hit a lot of nice places. The thing that stood out most was this Caribbean restaurant that was really great. If I ever get back to Guam, I’m going back to that place. They had a beach there; it was just a nice, tropical atmosphere."