AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Rhiannon Sellinger, an Amarillo native, is a Sailor aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. She is an aviation electrician and works on F-18s. She is currently on her second deployment.
Her mother, Raquel, described the excitement of her daughter’s first deployment, telling us that Rhiannon got to see many new places and countries all over the world.
That same excitement of gaining new experiences and seeing more of the world was in the air when the ship left port in January to embark on Rhiannon’s second tour.
That is when things unexpectedly changed. COVID-19 entered the world stage and changed everything.
To reduce international interactions and protect the service men and women from contracting the virus, the U.S. Navy suspended visits to foreign ports and ordered the ship to remain at sea.
Raquel explained that the sailors are confined to their ship which has only once come close to land. Since they can’t make port visits, the ship occasionally stops in the open water, and the crew members get to have swim parties. It’s just not the same as seeing the world though.
Amidst the disappointment of being confined to the ship, however is somewhat of a silver lining.
In the process of avoiding ports and other countries, the USS Eisenhower has set a Navy record for the number of consecutive days at sea. This is now day 168 at sea, shattering the old record of 160 days set in 2002 by the USS Theodore Roosevelt in response to the terror attack of September 11.
With the ship not due back for awhile, the record number of days will go much higher.
Raquel shared that she is proud of her daughter and all of her efforts anyway, but being part of the new record gives her even more of a reason to brag about Rhiannon. She doesn’t know exactly when, but they are already making plans for a long awaited reunion when the ship finally returns.
You probably expect a mother to be so proud of her daughter, but Rhiannon’s service and this new Navy record is another reason for Amarillo and our area to be proud and that’s some good news!