News from the Tennessee Valley News

Ronnie Thomas

Brothers lucky enough to serve on same ship

Monday morning, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis pulled into San Diego with about 6,000 sailors and Marines.

Cpl. Brandon Lucky, 22, was among the thousand or so returning to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in the city’s northern suburbs.

The warship then headed for homeport at Bremerton, Wash., where it arrives Friday, ending a seven-month deployment that placed it in the middle of two wars — Afghanistan and Iraq — and in two major training exercises in the Pacific.

Navy E-4 Information System Technician Third Class Harrison Lucky, 21, will disembark at Bremerton.

The Luckys are Hartselle’s version of “Band of Brothers,” except these brothers are blood. The sons of Jerry and Danitra Harrison, they paired up when the Stennis departed San Diego on Jan. 19. While still at sea, The Daily interviewed them via e-mail.

They were born in Norfolk, Va., where their parents met, married and the family lived 15 years before moving to Hartselle in 1999. Jerry Harrison is a 22-year Navy veteran.

Brandon graduated at Hartselle High School in 2002, went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., that August and returned home a Marine in less than four months.

He arrived at Miramar in February 2004 with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron-16. In August 2004, he made his first deployment to Iraq at Air Base Al Asad, where “I had a lot of fun in the dirt.”

After seven months, he transferred to his command at Miramar with MALS-11.

Harrison, in July 2005, shortly after graduating at Hartselle High, went to boot camp at Great Lakes, Ill. That September, he enrolled in IST training and in January 2006 reported to the Stennis.

Brandon said a lot of people want to know how he got the Marines to attach him to the same carrier as his brother. When he learned that Vertical Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-323 was deploying onboard the Stennis, he volunteered.

“It’s somewhat nice being able to pull into different ports and experience the first time being there with your brother, plus it’s a great way to stay out of trouble,” Brandon said. “Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Hawaii were all great places to visit.”

And it must have been an inspiring excursion for Brandon. While floating off the coast of Afghanistan, he re-enlisted for another four years.

On the Stennis, he was an avionics technician, working on communication/navigation gear for different types of fixed wing jets and rotary wing helicopters.

His mother cautioned that Harrison isn’t as chatty as Brandon. His e-mails aren’t as wordy either, but he said enough for anyone to realize that being with his brother was a hoot.

“Being out here on the same ship with him made the deployment go really fast,” Harrison said. “It seems as if we were just leaving San Diego a month ago.”

Visited when they could

Harrison said that aboard ship, he and Brandon didn’t get to hang out much because of work. But they got together at every chance, playing video games during off time.

“But when we went out on port visits, the days seemed to fly by,” he said.

Brandon said one downside to being away so long is missing his wife, Rachel, who lives at her home in Caribou, Maine, where the couple married in December.

“Not being able to spend time with her has been stressful more than enough these past few months,” he said. “In the next few days, I’ll pick her up, and we’ll be together for a visit, with my parents.”

Brandon expects the Marines to deploy him again, but in the meantime, he and his wife will be at home in San Diego, where he’ll handle routine duties at Miramar.

Harrison, who plans a visit to his parents Sept. 14, tentatively plans to remain aboard the Stennis until 2010.

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Ronnie Thomas Ronnie Thomas
DAILY Staff Writer

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