NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The USS Gerald R. Ford isn't only the Navy's most advanced aircraft carrier, but it is also a big community with around 2,600 sailors on board the ship. Some of those sailors are from right here in southeastern Virginia.

"When you run into somebody that's from the same general area as you, you immediately have this friendship that you didn't know you had," said Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Jenkins.

"It's really nice to meet someone from home," added Petty Officer 3rd Class Cenise Brown. Jenkins is from Franklin, and Brown went to elementary school in Suffolk.

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The two met for the first time Tuesday. For both it's a big deal to grow up locally, then to serve here and on a ship that was built in Newport News.

"I have some friends that I grew up with that actually worked at the shipyard, that worked on our ship. Went out to sea with us on sea trials, that was really cool," said Jenkins.

"It's just a little bit overwhelming, also, to be a part of something so big... some days, I don't really realize the impact that our ship is having, or going to have," said Brown.

PHOTOS: Aboard the Gerald R. Ford