A Gaston County native was just baptized at sea aboard Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman April 22.
Airman Apprentice Jorden Burrows, a weapons department ordnance handler from Denver, NC, is one of 12 Sailors who were baptized during a gospel faith baptism service made possible by Truman’s isolated at-sea status and the absence of diagnosed COVID-19 cases aboard.
Burrows frequently attended gospel services while he and Truman’s nearly 5,000 crewmembers were deployed to the Middle East earlier this year.
“Being able to do this on the ship is by far a lucky thing for me. Even though I know my family would love to see it, I got the chance to do it in front and with some of my closest friends,” Burrows said. “And being able to share this great moment with them and them seeing how happy I was feels great. This is by far the best thing I’ve ever done on the Truman, and I’ve been here for 4 years. I will always remember this!”
Performing the baptism, Chief Warrant Officer Eric Allen from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Truman’s air department fuels boatswain and Gospel lay-ministry leader, described the event as an amazing opportunity that requires creative thinking.
“For a believer in Christ, baptism is an integral part of their faith. To be baptized at sea is something that most people in the Navy will never have the opportunity to do,” Allen said. “We don’t have a baptistery like you do at most churches back home. Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department allowed us to use an aircraft engine case. We cleaned that out, filled it with water and used that as a baptistery.”
Truman’s Gospel lay ministry is one of several regularly practicing faith groups aboard the ship led by volunteer lay leaders. Lay services are overseen by the ship’s command religious ministries department, whose Navy chaplains also perform religious services according to their faiths.
The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group remains at sea in the Atlantic in order to protect the crew from the risks posed by COVID-19, following their successful deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. Keeping HSTCSG at sea in U.S. 2nd Fleet, in the sustainment phase of OFRP, allows the ship to maintain a high level of readiness during the global COVID-19 pandemic.