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Kingsport native spends wedding day aboard USS Princeton

Submitted by Navy Office of Community Outreach • Jun 13, 2020 at 11:00 PM

Ensign Josephine Rogers married 2nd Lt. Brett Jones on May 24 — despite being thousands of miles away and underway on the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59).

Rogers, an electronic warfare officer, met her now-husband at the U.S. Naval Academy when they were both midshipmen. They had planned for May 24 nuptials in Kingsport — where Rogers grew up — before a change in the ship’s schedule meant the bride-to-be would be at sea on the big day.

Because of the nationwide uncertainty caused by COVID-19, a new date for their traditional ceremony and celebration among family and friends on land was unknown. So, with the help of the Rogers’ family, the couple improvised.

“I know a lot of people have had to cancel their weddings because of coronavirus and have had to postpone stuff because ship’s schedules can change a lot,” said Rogers, a Dobyns-Bennett graduate. “So, I feel super lucky that we were able to get this to work. It took my family helping out to get it done.”

Rogers’ father, Bob, had power of attorney and, by direction of his daughter, signed the marriage documents at the courthouse. Jones, who will soon be reporting to Quantico, Virginia, for U.S. Marine Corps Basic School, was visiting his now in-laws and added his signature, finalizing the marriage.

Meanwhile aboard Princeton, at sea in the Pacific, Rogers’ friends threw a makeshift bachelorette party the night prior to the signing featuring soda and a movie.

“We watched ‘Bridesmaids’ and ate popcorn and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies until we nearly popped the night before her ‘wedding’,” said Ensign Katie Salerni, a friend of Rogers’ aboard Princeton.

On May 24, the ship’s culinary specialists dedicated the waffles made during brunch as “wedding waffles” and later that day baked a wedding cake.

“We tried to make her feel as special as possible on her special day,” said Salerni. “I look forward to getting back and being able to throw her a real party with her husband and family!"

Rogers recognizes the ceremony looked a lot different than she initially planned, but is grateful for the support she had throughout the ship on her wedding day.

“All of that made me feel really cared for,” Rogers said. “Everyone took time out of their day to make me feel special. I think people were looking for a reason to celebrate so it was great.”

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