By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana
Petty officer 1st class Jesus Navarro, a 1999 Durant Senior High School graduate, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. He is an aerographer’s mate aboard the aboard the aircraft carrier operating out of Yokosuka, Japan.
A Navy aerographer’s mate is responsible for monitoring weather characteristics.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned from home is work ethic and that made the transition in the Navy easy,” said Navarro.
Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world ready at all times to defend America’s interests.
With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
Named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 ft. The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck 252 ft. wide. Two nuclear reactors can push the ship through the water at more than 35 mph.
Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft.
“Being forward deployed is a special environment; we are the tip of the spear and that in itself makes it feel worth being here,” said Navarro.
Navarro is also proud of having coffee with the vice president Mike Pence.
“Just to be able to meet the second most powerful person in the world, it was a great experience,” said Navarro. “Another big one for me is traveling to Hong Kong and Australia. I never imagined going there.”
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard the carrier. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keep all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — including everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 men and women form the air wing responsible for flying and maintaining more than 70 aircraft aboard the ship.
Ronald Reagan, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.