A letter of support
St. Charles County man works to get letters to every sailor on the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier
By Brett Auten
Ed Klix has taken on an ambitious and earnest project.
Klix was putting together a care package for his son, Ryan, who is serving in the United States Navy aboard the USS Carl Vinson. Ryan is a Petty Officer 3rd Class, Aviation Technician who works on the radar plane assigned to the ship. Putting together such packages is nothing new for the Klixs as all three sons have served in the military, with two in the Navy and one in the Air Force.
Following a conversation with Ryan, Klix thought about the other sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson, all 5,000-plus of them.
“I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to get as many letters and cards as possible, and what if every sailor on the ship got a little note or something from home,” Klix said. “I thought that it could be an awesome project for Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts, as well as different schools and parishes to get behind.”
The military of the United States is deployed in more than 150 countries around the world, with over 130,000 of its active-duty personnel serving outside the United States and its territories. The USS Carl Vinson is the third United States Navy Nimitz-class (a class of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers) supercarrier and was launched in 1980, undertook its maiden voyage in 1983. Besides deployments in Operation Desert Strike and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Carl Vinson was involved in a number of notable events. The body of Osama bin Laden was buried at sea in 2011 from the deck of the Carl Vinson.
“There are still a lot of men and women serving now,” Klix said. “And by having one son actively serving on deployment I am getting an up close and personal view of how they can get an extra help or an extra cheer and how these kind of things can make their days and their weeks.”
Dustin Clover is a Petty Officer with the United States Navy Recruiting District St. Louis knows firsthand the boost a letter or package from back home can bring when it reaches the hands of sailor or soldier who are actively deployed.
“It’s a great morale booster when you are out there and it’s a good reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing and that’s to help support and defend freedom,” Clover said. “It means a lot to us. To have the support back home.”
Oftentimes, Clover said, the items are taped to walls to serve as inspiration during particularly trying and homesick times.
“You put them up in the shop, look at them and reflect and remember where we came from and where we started and why we’re doing what we’re doing,” he said. “I would just say remember that soldiers and sailors are people too and it means a lot to have support from people back home.”
As of last week, Klix was closing in on the 300-mark when it came to letters and cards. Whether he reaches his ultimate goal of around 5,000 remains to be seen. But if he is able to open the eyes of some to tip their cap or show their appreciation in some form to those who are serving, or have served, then it will be a victory.
“I would just hope that there is an appreciation for not only those who currently serve but also ones who have served in the past. There is a lot of focus at different times on each group but it is an incredible dedication they have shown.”
CUTLINE: Photo by Brett Auten Petty Officer Dustin Clover (center) of the United States Navy Recruiting District St. Louis, is shown with All Saints students, from left: Seamus Flynn, Morgan Meade, Bridget Meade, and Karen Mesler, coordinator of religious education at All Saints. Many of the students at All Saints created cards, letters, and pictures to be delivered to all of sailors on the USS Carl Vinson as part of a projected headed up by Ed Klix.
Want to Help?
If you, or your organization or classroom want to help Ed Klix meet his goal of reaching every sailor aboard the USS Carl Vinson with a card, letter, or gift basket, feel free to reach out to Klix either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 636-248-6800.