Party planned for Craig native returning from Naval deployment |

Party planned for Craig native returning from Naval deployment

Jerry Martin

Jordan Bailey

In October 2011, Craig resident Kathy Bailey received a big surprise.

Her nephew, Jordan Bailey, a damage controlman in the U.S. Navy stationed in San Diego, came to Craig to see Kathy and her mother, Peggy Bailey, before he was deployed to the Middle East.

"He made a surprise visit out here with his wife and his son to come see my mom and I, and it was the first time she got to see her great grandson" Kathy said. "He totally pulled it off, too. We had no clue."

Kathy is hoping to return the favor Friday when she and other members of her family host a surprise homecoming party for Jordan at American Legion Post 62 in Craig, 1055 Moffat County Road 7.

Kathy said the party, which is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m., will be a good way for Jordan to be reunited with friends and family members.

"Jordan's very close to his family," she said. Kathy also said the visit to the area, which is part of a two-week leave for Jordan before he reports back at Naval Base San Diego, will be important for another reason.

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It will be his first time back in Craig since the death of his grandmother, Peggy.

"While Jordan was gone on his deployment, my mom passed away in February and he couldn't come home," she said. "So this is kind of a happy and sad trip. He's coming home to Craig where all his family and friends are but … he needs some closure."

A 2006 Moffat County High School graduate, Jordan enlisted in the Navy in 2008 and after boot camp was assigned to an amphibious assault ship called the USS Makin Island.

The vessel was deployed in November 2011 to the Persian Gulf, where it served as a patrol ship.

Wyatt Oberwitte — Jordan's cousin and Kathy's son — had a chance to see Jordan work up close during a Tiger Cruise, a Navy program where family members get to travel with sailors and see their day-to-day activities.

Oberwitte said Jordan helps lead a crew of eight to 10 sailors who mainly handle fighting fires inside the ship, but also take care of maintenance for the interior of the vessel.

"(The ship) is almost the size of an aircraft carrier," he said. "So, there's got to be hundreds of rooms in there with everything in them." Oberwitte said he's most looking forward to seeing his cousin's reaction to the surprise party.

"When he got off the ship (after the Tiger Cruise) and saw his son, he was just so ecstatic about it," Oberwitte said. "I've never seen him smile that hard and be that excited about being home. "I want to see him that happy when he comes home (to Craig) and sees all of his family and old friends. I'm just going to be glad to see how happy he's going to be."

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If you go …

What: Surprise homecoming party for Navy damage controlman Jordan Bailey

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday

Where: American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7

— The party is an open house. Appetizers and cake will be served and anyone attending can bring their own appetizer.