ABOARD USS NASSAU (April 24, 2006) -- As the Marines and Sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) prepare for the long journey home crossing the Atlantic, one Marine was able to get his homecoming a little early.

Cpl. Phillip Ramirez, of Jacksonville, Fla., a squad leader with Weapon’s Co., Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 2nd Marines, got the chance to meet his father during an underway replenishment at sea (unrep).

Ramirez’s father, Leonardo, is the chief cook for USNS Patuxent, the Fleet Replenishment Oiler assigned to refuel the Nassau.

“I was told a half hour ago to get dressed and go to the flight deck, because my father was coming on the ship,” said Ramirez. “I didn’t believe it at first, then I realized his ship was doing the unrep.”

Ramirez was able to talk to his father twice since his deployment started in November; once during the Nassau’s first unrep crossing the Atlantic, during which Ramirez was able to talk on the phone from the Nassau’s pilot house while seeing his father on the flight deck of the Patuxent; and the other while in Kuwait after conducting counterinsurgency operations in Iraq.

The last time both Ramirez’s were together was almost two years ago.

“With our busy schedules it’s hard to find time to see each other,” said Leonardo Ramirez, a retired 1st Class Petty Officer. “This is one of the best days of my life.”

While touring the ship, the two talked about ship life, liberty ports and family. Phillip was also able to introduce his father to some of his friends and chain of command.

“To be able to link up a father and son during a deployment is an amazing thing,” said 1st Sgt. Victor Williams, Weapons Company First Sergeant. “I think this sends the right message to the other Marines as well. It lets them know we look out for them and we want to do all we can for them.”

In addition to BLT 1/2, the 22nd MEU (SOC) consists of its Command Element, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced) and MEU Service Support Group 22. The MEU is currently deployed as part of Expeditionary Strike Group 8.

For more information on the 22nd MEU, visit the unit’s web site at www.22meu.usmc.mil.