Bolton sailor has second reunion at sea

Photo of aunt and niece in reunion at sea
Lt.j.g. Aricka Faulkner and her niece, Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Aleasha Gatewood, share a rare opportunity for family to reunite while on deployment supporting the joint U.S.-Republic of Korea exercise Key Resolve 2014.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Toni Burton

BUSAN, Republic of Korea — Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Aleasha Gatewood, a 2010 Bolton High School graduate and Navy Sailor for the past three years, had a rare opportunity to spend time with her aunt, Lt.j.g. Aricka Faulkner, recently on the flagship U.S.S. Blue Ridge (LCC 19).

They were underway in support of the Key Resolve 2014 exercise. It is the second visit the two have had on board Blue Ridge in the past seven 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. “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 on Faulkner. “She gives me advice about my naval career.”

The two 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.