Justin Hammerlun will be home for holidays this year
Freedom is sometimes costly for Justin J. Hammerlun and others who serve in the Navy. For many sailors and naval officers, regular deployments on ships, weekends spent away from home and the possibility of armed conflict make their jobs challenging.
Adding to the challenge, some spend the holidays outside the United States. While families celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah at home, some sailors stand watch in foreign waters to guarantee peace. Other Navy professionals are fortunate to spend the holidays at home, though.
One such sailor is Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Hammerlun, the 22-year-old son of Gene Hammerlun if Gardnerville. His unit, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 45, will remain in San Diego this year, allowing Hammerlun to spend time with family and friends.
“The holidays mean family time,” said Hammerlun, a 1995 graduate of Douglas High School.
Hammerlun is an aviation mechanic who works on naval aircraft engines.
The pilots, naval officers and sailors who make up HSL-45 call themselves the “wolfpack.” The primary mission of HSL-45 is to provide fully mission capable detachments aboard cruisers, destroyers and frigates assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet. These detachments are an integral part of the ship’s weapon system, extending the ship’s undersea and anti-ship warfare capabilities beyond the horizon.
While the four-year Navy veteran may get to spend this holiday season in America, Hammerlun realizes he could spend next Christmas on an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf or Sea of Japan. Hammerlun knows that someone has to promote and defend democracy – even during the holidays.