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Family reunion at sea

familyreunion 600BUSAN, Republic of Korea – Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Aleasha Gatewood, assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet Staff embarked on the flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), had a rare opportunity to spend time with her aunt Lt.j.g. Aricka Faulkner while underway in support of the ongoing Key Resolve 2014 exercise.

A Memphis native, Gatewood is a 2010 graduate of Bolton High School and has been serving her country for 3 years. This is the second visit the two have had on board Blue Ridge in the last 7 months as Faulkner participated in the joint U.S.-ROK exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian in August 2013.

"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 about Gatewood. "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 Ft. Worth, Texas. When taking a break from her fulltime career as a flight operations manager for FedEx, she fulfills her naval commitments by spending four weeks a year participating in 7th Fleet exercises, which is convenient for Gatewood as she is permanently assigned to the 7th Fleet team working in the Flag mess since 2011.

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

Faulkner of Kansas City, Mo. and Gatewood 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 added.

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

Source: From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

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