Where did you serve and what did you do?
I actively served a contract for 7 years. I was stationed in Norfolk Virginia for 5 of those years between the years of 2012 and 2017. During those times in chronological order served a 7 month deployment on the USS Gonzalez named after Freddie Cantu Gonzalez a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps. His story was that he held off a brigade of 110 enemy soldiers at a bridge during WW2. Anyway it the deployment was long and difficult in 2013. We served as an independent destroyer off the horn of Africa AKA Somalia. We flew a drone off the flight deck 1000s of times to collect Intel from inside the combat control center. When we returned to homeport we were expecting a warmer welcome. We didn’t, we went straight to the shipyards for repairs. Fast forward to 2016 we deployed with a second strike group that consisted of a carrier 2 cruisers, 2 frigates, 2 destroyers and a submarine. It took our ship another 8 months before we could come return to naval station Norfolk.
I was a retail specialist. I was 3 jobs in 1 a storekeeper, a laundromat operator and a qualified barber. I think the greatest job I ever had the pleasure of doing was being a master helmsman. I got to rendezvous with other merchant ships at sea, a dangerous evolution that involves a console on the pilothouse of our ship and this data multiplexer system allows me to stay the course of the oceans current state while receiving new equipment using vertical replenishment. In the very end I made over 100s of 1000s of countless hours managing assuming the watch so contractors wouldn’t steal our top-secret systems and use them as means for building up a militia that could have possibly became a domestic act of terrorism in the future. I probably could have done a better job at scoping out more details but that could have been anybody.
How are you #StillServing?
I’m wounded in my mind battle scarring just simultaneously writing and thinking about it and all it ever does is create more contradictions.
Why do you do it?
I used to believe when I was growing up as a child that if I ever wanted to be remembered for anything it was for my determination. As I started to mature in my adult mind I realized the greatest honor a veteran can receive if he ever decides to pay the ultimate sacrifice it was for an act of valor.