The South China Sea is one place you'll find American aircraft carriers. Tuesday, the USS George Washington was headed to Hong Kong with Hanford native and Petty Officer Brooke Casey who enlisted in 2009.
"I'm able to travel the world, get a college education, I have a steady pay check, 1st and 15th every month," said Casey. "It's actually cool. It's like working in a really, really small town for about five months at a time but you can't leave."
By phone she talked of enjoying her Navy life that includes living in Japan when not at sea.
In Hanford her parents are very proud of their free spirited daughter.
"She's always been so head strong, 'her way' kind of person," said Jena Maciel. "To imagine her in a system bigger than herself was different for us but she's doing so well in it now."
So well that Brooke plans to re-enlist. Her current job in the engineering department of this floating city is to keep the equipment that powers food, showers and laundry up and running round the clock for the more than 5-thousand souls aboard the ship. In this Navy, men and women do the same jobs side by side .
Lt. Commander Dave Hecht said, "At this point in history, American history, we've just become so assimilated that you really don't notice the difference between the men and the women anymore."
Back home her dad told us brook's brother served before his sister and is now a police officer. They are very proud parents.
Joe Maciel said, "We weren't a military family so to have two kids in the military blew us away, we weren't expecting it."
They weren't expecting our visit either but agreed to talk about Brooke and her enlistment in the Navy.
For more stories of men and women from the Valley serving in our armed forces -- visit my blog: The Red, White and True.