SON OF FORT WAYNE WOMAN DEPLOYS WITH NAVY/MARINE CORPS TEAM
by Jeruea A. Harris
As part of the response to the terrorist attacks on America, U.S. Sailors and Marines joined Operation Enduring Freedom in a wide range of missions. Navy Seaman Merritt B. Isenhour, son of Mary Isenhour of Fort Wayne, is a member of the blue-and-green team aboard the USS Wasp (LHD-1), an amphibious assault ship. The Wasp departed its home port of Norfolk, Virginia in February on a six-month deployment as the flagship of the Wasp ARG, which also includes the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), the amphibious transport dock USS Trenton (LPD-14) and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. While the Navy conducts regularly scheduled ARG deployments even during peacetime, under the current circumstances, this deployment has special significance for Isenhour.
"I feel proud to be a part of the Wasp team. We will be directly involved with the actions in the war on terrorism," said Isenhour, a 2001 graduate of Carroll High School. "It also makes me feel like I am doing something for my country." Isenhour joined the Navy in July of 2001. He now plays an important role as part of the ship's crew of more than 1,100 Sailors. "As a Personnelman, my job on board is to maintain service records and other administrative duties, dealing with leave and helping the crew with whatever they may need," said Isenhour.
I enjoy the Wasp because there is so much going on,' said Isenhour. "The Marines are always preparing for an evolution, helicopters, and LCACS are always on the move." Serving in the Navy has provided a wide variety of experiences for Isenhour. He said, "The most interesting experience I've had was my damage control training. I learned how to fight fires and all the gear we used was intriguing."
Wherever their mission may take these Sailors and Marines, they are ready to go into ". . . harm's way," and defend America and freedom around the world, representing the Navy's core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
(Jeruea A. Harris is a journalist assigned to the Public Affairs Center in Norfolk, Va.)