ARABIAN SEA (NNS) -- This holiday season the Asdal family celebrated Christmas in the states without three of five siblings.
The three Asdal sisters who missed Christmas dinner at home in New Jersey are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, the region connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean.
Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Asdal O’Keefe, the USS Lassen (DDG 82) combat systems officer, Lt. Lindsey Asdal Beates, the future operations officer for Combined Task Force 57, and Lt. j.g. Charlotte Asdal, the USS Farragut (DDG 99) gunnery officer, are all celebrating the holidays thousands of miles from home, but quite close to each other. By pure happenstance, the three sisters, who serve at three different Navy commands stateside and abroad, spent the holidays supporting the nation while deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet and the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of responsibility. While O’Keefe was underway, embarked on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for Christmas, her two other sisters in U.S. 5th Fleet celebrated Christmas day together on liberty in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“Deploying with family is a total game changer,” said Lt. Cmdr. O’Keefe. “It is wonderful to have a strong sister support system and very convenient that we are all in the same time zone.”
In the Asdal family, four of the five sisters serve in the United States Navy. The fourth naval officer, Lt. Kirsten Asdal, is stationed at the Pentagon. The fifth Asdal sibling, Annie Asdal, is the vice president of a real estate firm in Atlanta.
Lt. Cmdr. O’Keefe said the Asdal family’s strength and inspiration originates with their parents. Mrs. Asdal was recently re-elected as the mayor of Chester, New Jersey, where the Asdal family has lived for many years. Mr. Asdal is a builder and educator there.
The Asdal parents are celebrated in Annapolis, Maryland for their dedication to the New Jersey Parents’ “Miracle on Asphalt” meals provided to U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen after football games. Since Lt. Cmdr. O’Keefe started attending the Naval Academy as a freshman in 2005, Mr. Asdal has attended every football game and provided thousands of midshipmen with a home-cooked meal. He has attended over 100 straight home Navy football games. Four of the five Asdal daughters attended the Naval Academy, graduating in 2009, 2010, 2014, and 2017.
Lt. Cmdr. O’Keefe said the youngest Asdal sister, Lt. j.g. Charlotte Asdal, just earned her surface warfare qualification and was awarded her SWO pin on USS Farragut (DDG 99). “The family chatted about how proud we are of Charlotte,” said O’Keefe.
O’Keefe is the only female of six department heads serving onboard Lassen this deployment. In the naval service, women are less than 20 percent of the force, which makes the story of four active duty Asdal sisters even more inspiring. “I work to be a strong and successful female role model for the junior officers and Sailors on board Lassen. I want to inspire others to lead and break the mold,” said O’Keefe.
Lt. Cmdr. O’Keefe and Lt. j.g. Asdal are both serving on ships in the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group. HSTCSG is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.