Friday, July 14, 2023

San Diego native serves aboard future Navy warship

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel, Navy Office of Community Outreach

MAYPORT, Fla. - Seaman Recruit Elijah Turner, a native of San Diego, 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.

Turner, a 2022 graduate of Del Norte High School, joined the Navy less than one ago.

“I joined the Navy to better myself,” said Turner.

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

“The lesson growing up I learned is that family doesn't mean you have to be related to them,” said Turner. "Family is the people you choose to surround yourself with."

These lessons have helped Turner 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 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 contributes to national defense by making sure there is no threat to America from the seas,” said Turner.

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

“I'm most proud of graduating 'A' school because I had a goal and achieved it,” 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.

“To me, serving in the Navy means that I can be part of the reason my family is safe,” said Turner.

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

“I would like to thank my uncle, Aaron Gadberry, for giving me the motivation to join,” added Turner.