Four Navy sailors return home to Suffolk

Published 7:19 pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

Four U.S. Navy sailors were among the 500 sailors and marines assigned to the Enterprise Strike Group when it arrived in Norfolk recently following a seven-and-a-half-month deployment supporting operations in the Mediterranean and Arabian seas.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Melvin L. Demiel, son of Cathy D. Jackson of Suffolk, and Melvin Demiel, of Suffolk; Navy Seaman Meghan R. Carter, daughter of Suzanne E. Carter of Suffolk and Richard W. Carter, of Suffolk; and Navy Airman Andrew D. O’Connor, son of Elizabeth Yeomans of Suffolk and Mitchell O’Connor, of Manlius, N.Y.; and Navy Chief Petty Officer Sheu O. Yijsuf, son of Lara and Laja Yijsuf of Suffolk took part in the final voyage of the USS Enterprise.

Demiel is a 1993 graduate of Nansemond River High School of Suffolk and joined the Navy in June 1993.

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Carter is a 2008 graduate of Kings Fork High School of Suffolk and joined the Navy in March 2010.

O’Connor is a 2006 graduate of Nansemond River High School of Suffolk and joined the Navy in March 2009.

Yijsuf joined the Navy in April 2001.

USS Enterprise’s return to Norfolk was the 25th and final homecoming in her 51 years of distinguished service. The aircraft carrier is scheduled to be inactivated Dec. 1, in a ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station.

While deployed, Enterprise CSG served in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility, conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During her 238 days away from Norfolk, “Big E, “ as Enterprise is affectionately known, safely steamed 80,968 miles, and Carrier Air Wing 1 flew more than 8,000 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and exercises in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

Enterprise was commissioned Nov. 25, 1961 as the eighth ship to bear the name Enterprise. Big E was the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

During her 51 years of service, Enterprise deployed 25 times and participated in every major conflict since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Enterprise has been homeported in both Alameda, Calif., and Norfolk and conducted operations in every region of the world.

The December inactivation ceremony will be the last official public event for Enterprise, and will serve as a celebration of life for the ship and the more than 100,000 Sailors who have served aboard the ship.

Enterprise CSG is comprised of: Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, CVW 1, Destroyer Squadron 2, guided-missile destroyers USS Porter, USS Nitze and USS James E. Williams.

The squadrons of CVW 1 embarked aboard Enterprise are: Strike Fighter Squadron VFA 11 “Red Rippers,” VFA-136 “Knighthawks,” VFA-211 “Fighting Checkmates,” Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 “Thunderbolts,” Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 123 “Screwtops,” Carrier Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 137 “Rooks,” Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 “Rawhides,” and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11 “Dragonslayers.”