Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Guadalupe native serves aboard future Navy warship

By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

MAYPORT, Fla. - Petty Officer 3rd Class Eduardo Gomez, a native of Guadalupe, California, serves aboard Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Nantucket, in Mayport, Florida.
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
James Green, Navy Office of Community Outreach

PCU is a designation used by the U.S. Navy to describe crews aboard vessels under construction prior to official commissioning.

Gomez, a 2019 graduate of Ernest Righetti High School, joined the Navy over two years ago.

“I joined the Navy during COVID-19,” said Gomez. “I was in my first semester of college and we switched to online classes. I wanted to take a break from school, so I talked with a recruiter and the rest is history.”

Today, Gomez relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Guadalupe to succeed in the military.

“Growing up in a small community of predominantly Mexican-Americans, we were always known for never giving up and pushing forward, regardless of when things got tough,” said Gomez.

These lessons have helped Gomez while serving in the Navy.

Nantucket will be a fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored surface combatant that operates in near-shore and open-ocean environments, according to Navy officials. Littoral combat ships integrate with joint, combined, manned and unmanned teams to support forward-presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions around the globe.

Littoral combat ships are hybrid surface combatants that lead manned-unmanned teams using unmanned aerial systems like the Fire Scout and Expeditionary Ordnance Disposal forces unmanned underwater vehicles. They conduct forward and maritime security missions like the Secretary of Defense Oceania Maritime Security Initiative. The ships also strengthen partnerships through port visits in small island nations like Tahiti and Fiji due to their shallow-depth hull.

According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is unique and challenging. The culmination of their 18-month training pipeline, sailors qualify on a virtual reality simulator that is nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training pipeline allows sailors to execute their roles and responsibilities immediately upon stepping on board.

With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

"Our mission remains timeless - to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level," said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. "This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy."

Serving in the Navy means Gomez is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy is instrumental in maintaining the security of our country 24/7 from our enemies both foreign and domestic,” said Gomez.

Gomez has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I’m most proud of advancing in rank to petty officer third class because it was the biggest career marker I set for myself within my first few years of service,” said Gomez.

As Gomez and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means a lot to me by just putting on the uniform every day,” said Gomez. “It comes with a ton of responsibilities that I gladly take on.”

Gomez is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank my family for supporting me throughout my time in the Navy,” added Gomez. “I would also like to thank my Uncle, Sergio Valeazquez, who previously served as a non-commissioned officer in the Marines who had an influence on me joining the military.”