AT SEA - Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 receives new personnel every
week overseas and on Dec. 30, 2012 Lt. j.g. David Chapelle, the newest
pilot assigned to the Golden Hawks of Airborne Early Warning
Squadron (VAW) 112, was reunited with his older brother, Lt. Topher
Chapelle, a pilot with the Golden Dragons of Strike Fighter Squadron
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (Jan. 19, 2013) Lt. Topher Chapelle and his brother Lt. j.g. David Chapelle pose for a photo on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Both brothers are assigned to squadrons aboard Stennis. John C. Stennis
is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting
maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts
and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy
photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charlotte C.
The Chapelle brothers, from Chapin, S.C., grew up
with dreams of flying for the Navy. Each pursued their dream
by earning a commission through the Naval Reserve Officer
Training Corps (NROTC). Topher attended Virginia Technical
Institute while David, two years younger, chose to attend
“We were always interested in
flying while growing up,” said David. “The idea of taking
off and landing on a moving ship was awesome.”
The scholarship offered
through NROTC drove the brothers to actively pursue a career
in the Navy and eventually join the ranks of elite naval
The same week Topher completed training on
the T-34 Turbomentor aircraft and earned his wings as a
naval aviator, David earned his commission as an ensign.
After completing preliminary flight school in Pensacola,
Fla., both brothers were selected for carrier-based
aircraft. Topher was selected to fly the F/A-18C Hornet,
while David was to fly the E-2C Hawkeye.
learned he would be joining his brother aboard Stennis
shortly after completing carrier qualification aboard USS
Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), while a member of VAW-120, the
E2-C Hawkeye Fleet Replacement Squadron.
“When I was
finishing my qualification [on the carrier] I knew coming to
VAW-112 was an option,” said David. “When my classmates
found out my brother was on the Stennis I was told ‘you're
coming here.' I think it was already decided.”
joined the Golden Dragons, embarked aboard the Nimitz-class
aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), in November
2010, and is currently on his second deployment with the
“I knew when my brother was finishing his
carrier qualificiation that he was probably going to be
joining me with the air wing on Stennis,” said Topher.
The last time the brothers saw each other was nearly two
years ago when they were both in Lemoore, Calif. Now that
the brothers are both in the same air wing aboard Stennis,
they are hoping to make up for lost time and to catch up
between flying missions and training.
had some sailors wondering if siblings serving together on
the same ship was prohibited.
On Nov. 13, 1942 as
the USS Juneau, severely damaged in the Battle of
Guadalcanal, limped away from battle with the USS San
Francisco and USS Helena, she was torpedoed by the Japanese
submarine I-26. The Juneau sank in less than a minute and of
the 700 sailors aboard Juneau, there were only 10 survivors.
The five Sullivan brothers, who had requested to serve
aboard the same ship, were all killed. Many believe that
because of this tragedy siblings are barred from serving
under the same command, however, no such law exists. After
the loss of the Sullivan brothers, several bills were
introduced to Congress that would prohibit family members
from serving in the same military unit, but no bill or act
was ever passed.
With no rules barring the brothers
from serving together, the “Chapelle Show,” as they're
known, said they are excited to serve together and look
forward to learning from each other during the remainder of
“It's a great opportunity to serve
together, and our parents are excited for us,” said Topher.
“Our mom is happy it will make sending packages
easier,” David added.
With the brothers reunited,
they hope to bring their dad aboard Stennis for the
end-of-deployment Tiger Cruise from Hawaii to San Diego.
“We really both want to be able to show our dad what
we've been up to the last few years,” the brothers added.
“We know he'll really enjoy it.”
The John C. Stennis
Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), consisting of Stennis, CVW 9,
Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile
Bay (CG 53) are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of
responsibility to strengthen regional partnerships, sustain
maritime security, and support combatant commander
requirements for assets in the area.
By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Charlotte Oliver
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