USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) welcomed aboard six Jacksonville Jaguars Cheerleaders and their manager recently to perform for the ship's Friends and Family Day Cruise.
The cheerleaders who joined the crew included manager Christy Zynda, Melissa Gallup, Laurie Conley, Phillipa Jones, Amanda Perdue, Danielle Lafontaine and Tiffany Bowen.
The cheerleaders spent the day entertaining the crew and their families and teaching little girls at the event various cheers. Danielle Lafontaine said she felt privileged to perform for the special day.
"We've enjoyed it so much and we really do appreciate all you guys do for us," Lafontaine said. "We'll never be able to repay the time you have to be away from your loved ones and families, but this is something we can do to show you how much we appreciate what you do."
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice Kenneth Wilson, a Sailor aboard Truman, said he didn't know the cheerleaders were attending the event, but it was a pleasant surprise.
"The performance was great and really creative. I thought it was a great experience for the little girls in the crowd to go on-stage and learn some cheers," Wilson said. "It was also inspiring for the girls to hear that the cheerleaders were medical professionals, teachers and college students as well as cheerleaders."
The Jaguars' cheerleaders act as inspiration and motivation to fans during games. But, when they are not on the playing field, they act as good-will ambassadors for the Jaguars. The women participate is various events throughout Florida and the U.S. and they perform internationally for troops regularly.
Tiffany Bowen said she was especially excited to come aboard the ship because her father is a retired Sailor. She said it was a chance for her to learn about what her father did for such a large portion of his life.
"It feels so great to be here," Bowen said. "You can't even tell you're on the ocean."
Yeoman 3rd Class (SW) Mary-Katherine King, another Sailor aboard the ship, said having the cheerleaders aboard made the day that much more fun. She said their presence was a reminder of how much support the U.S. has for its troops.
"It's an honor that the cheerleaders took time out of their busy schedules to come to the ship and support the Sailors on board," King said.
USS Harry S. Truman is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean completing carrier qualifications.