Thank you to our military from Big Sky


“Our view of an F18 coming in for an “arrested landing”


Hello everyone — Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

I had the privilege of doing something last weekend that I wanted to tell you about.  As part of our U.S. Navy’s Distinguished Visitor (DV) Program, I was invited to spend the weekend 125 miles off the coast of San Diego, aboard the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.  (YES!  no kidding — it was UNBELIEVABLE!)



From left-to-right:  Mayor Dan Champagne of Vernon, Joe Millett of Big Sky Fitness, and Attorney Bill Breslau of Vernon.


The DV Program was designed to give civic and business leaders a look at day-to-day operations, a chance to experience a sailor’s life, and to see firsthand what our US Navy is capable of.  So sixteen of us civilians (14 from CT and 2 from CA) saw, felt, and experienced something none of us will ever forget.


To describe the Nimitz as “amazing” or “awesome” doesn’t begin to cover it!  The ship itself stands 23 stories high (from keel to top of mast) and is essentially a floating “town”, with 5000+ personnel and (65) fighter jets / helicopters on board.  Its’ flight deck is the length of 3+ football fields laid out end-to-end-to-end, and is over 4.5 acres in size. 


As its’ officers explained to us, “The Nimitz gives us combat capability, that we can take anywhere in the world, that comforts friends and gives pause to potential adversaries.”  Well said!



What the (16) of us were most struck by, however, was the incredible and impressive dedication of absolutely every sailor and airman we encountered.  Every single one of them.  Their sense of duty and commitment was humbling and truly . . . inspiring!!   I know all of us couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of patriotic pride every hour we were there, and as we returned home to our daily lives.

While America may not have officially declared our country as “at war”, in reality, the men and women in our military have dedicated their lives, and sacrificed every day, to keep us all safe. 

They selflessly work to protect the freedoms we wake up and enjoy every day, as well as those of millions of people throughout the world. 

They are our real heroes.


To Rear Admiral Bill Byrne, Captain John Ring, Captain Todd Marzano, Master Chief Jimmy Hailey, and to all of the men and women aboard the Nimitz, “thank you” for an experience we’ll never forget!  And somehow, “thank you for your service” seems to cover just a fraction of what we all feel, but all the same . . . thank you.

May God bless you all, and always keep you safe.


Our special thanks to our ambassador and guide for the weekend, ENS Meagan Morrison.


To all of Big Sky’s friends in CT:

The officers and crew on the Nimitz are preparing for a June deployment to the Middle East.  Perhaps at some point in 2017, I hope they’ll ask for our help if or whenever they need it.

In the meantime, we have other members of our military embedded in Afghanistan right now who weren’t home for Thanksgiving, they won’t be home for Christmas, and they’ve asked for any of the items listed below that we can spare:

  • ramen noodles
  • instant oatmeal
  • crackers
  • tuna snack packs
  • bags of candy (to hand out to local villagers)
  • candy
  • k cup coffee
  • ground coffee
  • chips and salsa
  • pretzels
  • trail mix
  • beef jerky
  • fruit squeeze packs
  • 5 hour energy
  • protein bars
  • spray on sun screen
  • roll on sun screen sticks
  • travel size tooth paste
  • travel size deodorant, non scented
  • vitamins:  multi, C, D
  • hot hands / foot packs
  • icy hot heat pads
  • travel q tip packs
  • travel hand sanitizer
  • travel size butt wipes, non scented
  • travel size foot/boot powder, anti fungal
  • current gun magazines
  • current outdoorsman magazines
  • current sports magazines
  • card games

Please package up and mail whatever you can to:

Dave Concepcion Camp Vose APO AE 09354


At this special time of year, I hope you can make the time to send something that would make a difference.

THANK YOU in advance for whatever you can send . . . and Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Respectfully Yours,

Joe Millett

President & Head Coach

Big Sky Fitness — Connecticut

3 military


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