I really felt that I had been accepted into the crew and I noticed that the people who flew in with me seemed to feel the same way.
By this time, I was fully into doing my job aboard the ship, taking pictures and writing articles, my work was being noticed and appreciated. It wasn’t just me who was fitting in, either; the junior Sailors I had flown out with to their first ship were working hard and were being recognized for it.
By February, San Diego and its crew could see the finish line of the ship’s maiden deployment. The apprehension I had felt just a couple months before was completely gone.
We returned to our homeport of San Diego on Feb. 25, but the work wasn’t finished yet. We still had to complete our ammunition offload at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach in April and eventually transit to BAE Systems San Diego Shipyard for an extended maintenance period in May. Both would require long days and a continued team first attitude.
Before we left for Seal Beach the ship was recognized with its second straight Battle Effectiveness (Battle “E”) Award, highlighting all of the work it had done in 2014.
San Diego and her crew would continue to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work. During the shipyard maintenance period, I photographed multiple awards ceremonies recognizing individuals for their accomplishments and perseverance, as well as promotion and advancement ceremonies.
I would be lying if I said everyday on San Diego has been an adventure or even just a good day, however, I’ve had a lot more good days than bad days.
No job is perfect, but I’ve been impressed with this crew almost every day I’ve been on board. I’ve seen shipmates take care of each other, sacrifice for each other and lend each other a hand on a regular basis. They haven’t always been happy about working late, but they’ve done it because it’s their job.
Since I’ve checked on board I’ve had two commanding officers, two executive officers, two command master chiefs, two department heads, two division officers, two public affairs officers, a lot of chiefs and too many new shipmates to count. I feel that all of them have appreciated the work that I, and the rest of the crew, have done.
As my first year aboard this ship comes to a close I can truly say I’m happy I took these orders and I’m proud to be part of team San Diego.