We took off into a tropical storm on our way out on deployment, skirting thunderstorms on either side of Oahu's Ko'olau Mountains, bound for Europe and Africa. For most of us, it was not our first deployment, but it was our first time deploying fully qualified in our jobs.
As the Mission Commander it was my first time leading this crew to unknown places and missions. We had all been trained and mentored by senior pilots, flight officers and operators but the unknown of the next seven months stretched before us like the unending blue sea beneath us.
Over the subsequent months we grew together, we sweated under the blinding African sun in our aircraft and froze over the northern reaches of the roiling Atlantic Ocean. On long eleven hour flights under star studded nights we talked about everything from best places to eat back home to our plans after the Navy. We had ultramarathon runners, comic book fanatics, and a future salon owner. We tracked submarines, terrorists and drug runners.
These are photos of us, equal parts documentary and family photo album.
Aaron Rosa graduated from the U.S Naval Academy in 2011 with a B.S. in Political Science, he serves as a Mission Commander on a P-3C Orion submarine hunting aircraft. He lives on the island of Oahu with his wife Lauren and son Audie.