Good Morning, Followers!
There's excitement in the air as the ship approaches St. Thomas. Everyone is anxious to get their passports checked and have the ship cleared. Cadets that have previously visited the island have favorite spots that they are eager to return to. Those visiting the island for the first time have heard countless stories from their shipmates and realize that they are in for a treat.
Today, I am sending double birthday wishes back home to Rhode Island. That's right, there are two birthdays being celebrated at my house today. My son Christian turns five and my daughter Leia turns nine. Although it is tough being away, I am looking forward to talking with them later. We will have a belated celebration when I return home in just over two weeks.
I also want to send a hug out to their big sister, ten year-old Kyrie. Kyrie and my wife Joyce will work hard to make this a special day for Christian and Leia. I thought that this would be the perfect day to share photos of my family with you.
For crew members who have enjoyed visiting St. Thomas over the years, the return to the island is bittersweet. They are bracing themselves for signs of the destruction that occurred when Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria swept across the island last September.
As I mentioned earlier, the TS Kennedy played a role in post-hurricane relief efforts and stopped at the island last fall, shortly after the two violent storms. For crew members who were aboard the ship at that time and witnessed the devastation firsthand, this visit will be one of hope and pride. Rather than seeing what is gone or changes, these crew members will appreciate all that the residents of St. Thomas have done to clean up, repair and rebuild.
It is time to welcome the pilot onto the ship and prepare for docking.
Have a great day at school!
And to Christian and Leia, happy birthday from your lucky dad!
Captain Michale J. Campbell
A very happy birthday to Christian and Leia from second graders at Swift River Elementary School in Belchertown!! You can all celebrate together soon (and have more cake!!!!) - HAVE A GREAT DAY!