Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Irvin is serving aboard USS Essex, a U.S. Navy Wasp-class, amphibious assault ship.

By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel, Navy Office Of Community Outreach

A Plant City native is serving aboard USS Essex, a U.S. Navy Wasp-class, amphibious assault ship. Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Irvin joined the Navy for the opportunities the Navy provides.

“I joined the Navy to make a better life for myself and my family,” said Irvin.

Today, Irvin serves as a Navy aviation maintenance administrationman.

“The best part of my job is ensuring the aircraft stay operational,” said Irvin.

According to Irvin, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Plant City.

“I learned to work hard so you can play hard,” said Irvin.

Homeported in San Diego, California, USS Essex is the second ship in the Wasp class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships and the fifth ship named for Essex County, Massachusetts. Essex was a 1,000-ton ironclad river gunboat of the U.S. Army and later U.S. Navy during the American Civil War.

According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushions, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers, Irvin is most proud of making the rank of third-class petty officer.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Irvin, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.

“Serving in the Navy has given me the ability to have a better life for me and my family,” added Irvin.

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