Deployed service members send videos home

22 Nov 2011 | Sgt. Elyssa Quesada

Deployed service members aboard USS Makin Island began recording personal “Stories from the Sea” videos here Nov. 22, keeping connected to families back home.

Parents read books to their children and others recorded general messages for loved ones.

Sgt. Donald Hughes, deployed for the first time, recorded a story for his 2-year-old daughter Berlin.

“I thought it was an excellent idea. Not only can (my family) see me while I’m gone, but they get a little sense of what ship life is like,” said Hughes, 24, who hails from Missoula, Mont. “It’s another way of communicating. I love my family and I miss them.”

More than 50 service members signed up in the program’s first four days, and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit chaplain and project coordinator Lt. Cmdr. Jon Conroe said he hopes to see more participation while the unit is underway, especially before the holidays.

“Not only is it a morale builder, but it gives the children (of deployed service members) the ability to see and hear their parent …,” said the unit’s religious programs specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Hatondra D. Willis.

Hughes serves as the logistics noncommissioned officer in charge for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s command element. The unit embarked USS Makin Island, USS New Orleans and USS Pearl Harbor in San Diego Nov. 14, beginning a seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East regions.

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