Arabian Gulf - A U.S. Navy Sailor and Orlando, Florida, native received a phone call from President Barack Obama while operating aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) Thanksgiving Day.
Petty Officer 2nd Class (SW) Dennis Rivera, a 2009 graduate of Colonial High School, is serving aboard Nitze as a fire controlman and is responsible for deploying and maintaining weapons systems.
Rivera entered the Navy in October 2012 and reported to Nitze July 2013.
"It's not every day that a service member gets a chance to talk to his president," said Rivera. "Once I found out I was chosen, I was extremely nervous."
Rivera joined the Navy to better himself and continue a family history of military service.
"The president first thanked me for my service and wished me a happy Thanksgiving," Rivera said. "He then thanked our crew for our sacrifice and dedication to our country."
The two then went on to talk about Rivera's family and the president told him how extremely proud they were to have a son serving his country overseas.
Rivera's favorite Navy memory was launching Tomahawk missiles on the Navy's birthday.
"We also spoke about the strikes in Yemen, and he gave our crew praise for preserving freedom of the seas," Rivera said. "Before we ended our phone call, he asked that I tell the crew how proud he was, and he wished us a safe return home."
Nitze, 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. 5th 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), USS Mason (DDG 87) and Nitze.