In June of 1999, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Terrill L. Murriel, son of Thomas Harrison of Fort Wayne, raised his right hand and took an oath to serve and protect his country. He’s now assigned to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, based out of Norfolk, Virginia, currently deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Gulf in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.
“I joined the Navy to better myself. I was doing nothing with my life, and the Navy just felt right,” said the 27-year-old sailor. “I chose the Navy over the other branches of the service because its rich history was of great interest to me.” When asked what he’ll miss the most over the holiday season this year, Murriel was quick to respond. “I’ll miss spending time with my seven-year-old and newborn son this year,” said the father of two. “Family is really important to me and my sons are my world.”
Though this is the battle group’s regularly scheduled six-month deployment, it holds special meaning for all Sailors involved this year. In spite of heightened security, at a level greater than this battle group has experienced in recent years, most Sailors on board are looking forward to standing true to the Truman motto to “give ’em hell” when traveling abroad this year. “I look forward to seeing other countries and meeting new people,” said the 1993 graduate of R. Nelson Snider High School. I believe the carrier’s role is to provide a strong military front and air support for the other ships in the battle group.”
Even though it isn’t easy for these committed Sailors to be overseas during the holidays, they know how important their individual roles are to maintaining America’s freedom. “My job is to provide customer service for the command involving re-enlistments, transfers and educational needs,” said Murriel. “Every job on the ship is important because each one benefits all others,” he said.
For many Americans, the holiday season inspires thoughts of gathering with family and friends, eating home-cooked feasts, enjoying a blazing fire, and listening to holiday music playing in the background. For the men and women on board Navy ships in the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) battle group this year, the holidays mean defending freedom overseas for their families and friends at home.
From the ships protecting the coasts of the nation to the hospitals and airstrips in the continental United States and overseas, the dedicated men and women serving in the world’s finest Navy will continue to protect and serve their country with honor, courage, and commitment this holiday season.
(Rachael Leslie is a journalist assigned to the Navy Public Affairs Center in Norfolk, Virginia.)

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