It is difficult for Sailors to leave their loved ones behind when it comes time to deploy. Wives kiss their husbands farewell, and children are reminded that their parent’s absence is a sacrifice made for the greater good.
This hard truth of Naval service was one that Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Breanna Janssen, onboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman faced each time her father was called away for duty throughout her childhood.
As Janssen prepares for her first deployment aboard Truman, goodbyes won’t be required. In a rare occurrence, Janssen and her father are serving aboard the Truman together.
“It feels great to be on the same ship as my daughter,” said Senior Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate David Janssen, leading chief petty officer of maintenance control for the “Seahawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126, who recently embarked aboard the Truman. “I just came off of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and joined VAW-126 when I realized they were attached to Truman. I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to serve together for the first time in our careers.”
While the Navy often allows siblings to serve together, David Janssen said a father-daughter relationship aboard a warship is rare and offers unique benefits to both sailors.
“It’s comforting to know that there’s always someone to talk to, no matter what’s going on in my life,” said Breanna Janssen. “Having my dad on board provides me with a great stress reliever.”
David Janssen said that even with his position as a senior chief, he will continue to be a father first and will always find time for his daughter.
“If something’s going on in Breanna’s life, I’m always available to give her some good direction,” said Janssen. “With all of my years of experience of life in the Navy, I can help her with problems I’ve already faced myself.”
Breanna Janssen said she admires her father’s work ethic and plans to follow his example throughout her own career.
“My dad’s always been someone who I’ve looked up to. He’s the reason I joined the Navy,” said Janssen. “He’s a dual warfare qualified senior chief and he’s stuck with the Navy for such a long time. I admire how much he loves what he does.”
David Janssen has completed eight deployments and expects Truman’s upcoming deployment will mean the most to him.
“Being part of VAW-126 will give me the opportunity to be with Breanna on her first deployment,” said Janssen. “It’ll be her first and most likely my last. So many times I’ve been away on deployment and I’ve missed being with Breanna back home. While I may not be able to make up the time we’ve lost, at least I’ll be right beside her this time around.”