Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Miami native serves aboard U.S. Navy warship in Mayport

By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

MAYPORT, Fla. - Petty Officer 1st Class Kaieah Turner, a native of Miami, Florida, is serving aboard USS Winston S. Churchill, a U.S. Navy warship, operating out of Mayport, Florida.
USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81)

Turner, a 2010 graduate of Henry E. Lackey High School, joined the Navy 12 years ago. Additionally, Turner graduated from Excelsior College with an Associate of Science in Information Technology.

“I joined the Navy for better educational opportunities and a chance to visit different countries,” said Turner.

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

“Growing up, I learned that regardless of dreams and good intentions, it all means nothing without a plan of action and follow through,” said Turner.

These lessons have helped Turner while serving in the Navy.

Winston S. Churchill is a guided-missile destroyer that provides a wide range of warfighting capabilities. The destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

More than 300 sailors serve aboard Winston S. Churchill. Their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.

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 Turner 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 integral to protecting our freedoms and rights while providing a huge, forceful presence at sea,” said Turner.

Turner and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I’m proud to have gotten my degree and to have made it to petty officer first class but most importantly, ensuring I’m financially stable,” said Turner.

As Turner 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 having opportunities I may not have had, such as financial stability, traveling and free education,” said Turner. “My goal is to make the rank of chief petty officer and to get my bachelor’s degree in emergency disaster relief.”

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

“I’d love to thank my uncle, Timothy Turner, who served in the Marine Corps,” added Turner. “His guidance and assurance led me to join the Navy.”