When the Navy's newest and most advanced aircraft carrier set off last month on its second deployment, it carried something both familiar and entirely novel:
Meet Sage, the USS Gerald R. Ford's facility dog. Under a pilot program, she is the first "expanded operational stress control canine" that will be part of the crew of a Navy ship throughout a deployment.
The 3-year-old Labrador retriever has been specially trained to help sailors cope with stress associated with deployment, providing comfort and morale boosts as part of the ship's warfighter toughness mental health and resiliency team.
Recently, Sage and her handlers visited sailors aboard the USS Normandy, another ship in the Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, in the Mediterranean Sea. From the looks of it, things went swimmingly.