Mediterranean Sea - A U.S. Navy Sailor and Flint, Michigan, native received a phone call from President Barack Obama while operating aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) Thanksgiving Day.
Petty Officer 2nd Class (SW) Christina McGuire, a 2012 graduate of Clio Area High School, is serving aboard Mason as a cryptologic technician in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
McGuire entered the Navy in April 2014 and reported to Mason in August 2015. She has recently qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist.
"Petty Officer McGuire is a superb Sailor," said Cmdr. Christopher J. Gilbertson, from Minneapolis, Mason's commanding officer. "Her direct actions in defense of the ship, crew and others are indicative of what every Mason Sailor is - absolutely professional. Her performance, attitude and hard work especially make her a standout. Her infectious, positive attitude has been a welcome addition, and I know she was honored to have the opportunity to speak with our commander-in-chief today."
President Barack Obama reached out to McGuire this Thanksgiving.
"He wanted to say, 'Happy Thanksgiving,'" said McGuire. "He wanted to congratulate Mason on our excellent performance these last couple of months. He personally congratulated me on firing NULKA, and he was very personal, talking about my husband and our dual-military status. He then talked about our sports teams back home."
McGuire continued to say how personable the commander-in-chief was and seemed genuinely excited to talk with her.
An integral part of the combat watch team, McGuire said, "It was really cool that he recognized all the good that Mason has done the past few months. He said he thought a lot about us and of us. Sometimes we think that we're small in the scope of things, being a destroyer; it's cool that we can make a significant impact not just in U.S. 5th Fleet but really make history. He sees that and appreciates it a lot."
Mason, historically, remains the only ship to ever utilize the AEGIS system in conjunction with NULKA as a defensive measure to defeat external threats.
"It's an honor to be a name mixed with all the historic Sailors before us," McGuire said. "It's significant that USS Mason (DE-529), the first integrated ship in the Navy, made such an impact. Then years later, we carry on that heritage by making the first ever soft kill - hard kill integration. We definitely take a lot of pride in that."
McGuire attributed her success to Mason's nurturing environment and commitment to training.
"We're a family," said McGuire. "You can look at someone and know he or she is having a bad day because we know each other. We might not all be best friends, but everyone, ultimately, cares about each other. We have each other's back. I don't think any other ship has that closeness, and I'm not sure if it was because of the experience of being shot at, but I think it's just a contagious mindset."
Upon the mention of her family, a contemplative look appeared on her face as she smiled from ear to ear.
"I just want to tell Paul that I love him and can't wait to see him," McGuire said. "I can't wait to see everyone at the end of that pier."
McGuire went on to say how much support she has had on deployment and wishes all the citizens back home a Happy Thanksgiving.
"Support your troops," said McGuire. "The men and women out here are the greatest people I have ever met in my life. They deserve nothing but support from people back home. We appreciate the good word, messages and cards from back home. Sometimes they don't know how much we appreciate it!"
Mason, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG), is deployed to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Ike CSG includes the CSG-10 staff, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), the staff and squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 staff, the guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Monterey (CG 61) and the DESRON 26 ships: guided-missile destroyers USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Nitze (DDG 94).