Friday, September 04, 2009

Dual Carrier Operations Give Brothers Chance to Take to the Sky Together

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman (SW) Amara R. Timberlake, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea – (NNS) -- Lieutenants Lee and Travis Amerine, the Amerine brothers, knew they wanted to fly from an early age.

"There was an F-4 Phantom squadron near our hometown in Paris, Ark. We would watch them take off from the end of the runway," said Travis, assigned to the "Royal Maces" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 of Carrier Air Wing (CAW) 5 embarked on George Washington. "It didn't take much more than one afterburner takeoff to convince us that we wanted to go do that."

Lee blazed the trail for Travis and their younger brother Denver, by graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 2003. Travis and Denver are also Naval Academy graduates.

"We all got the idea at the same time when we were kids," said Lee, assigned to the "Tophatters" of VFA-14 of CVW 11 embarked on Nimitz. "I was just the first one who was able to pursue it."

Since the brothers are assigned to two different air wings on different carriers, the opportunity they had to fly together was very rare.

"I didn't think it was going to happen," said Lee.

"The chances of us being up there at the same time were slim. It is still hard to believe that we got airborne together, in the same cycle from two separate flight decks with all the possibilities that could have canceled us," said Travis.

Both pilots are thankful for the once in a lifetime opportunity and the chance they have to serve their country everyday.

"We're both loving what we're doing," said Lee.

"It was incredible," said Travis. "I just hope to keep serving my country both in and out of the cockpit, and to never forget that every sortie is a gift."

Wednesday, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) concluded routine air and surface operations with the forward deployed George Washington Carrier Strike Group in support of the maritime strategy.

Nimitz CSG, commanded by Rear Adm. John W. Miller, Commander, CSG 11, is comprised of USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the guided-missile destroyers USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Sampson (DDG 102) of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23, the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Chosin (CG 55) from Commander, Naval Surface Group, Mid Pacific and the Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) from DESRON 1. Squadrons from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 include the "Black Aces" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 41, the "Tophatters" of VFA 14, the "Warhawks" of VFA 97, the "Sidewinders" of VFA 86, the "Indians" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 6, the "Black Ravens" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 135, the "Providers" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 117. Detachments from the "Easy Riders" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 37, the "Battle Cats" of HSL 43, the "Wolfpack" of HSL 45 and the "Scorpions" of HSL 49. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 11 and the USNS Bridge (T-AOE-10) embarking the "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 also accompany Nimitz CSG.