Brandon native Petty Officer 2nd Class Makeisha Villery. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Murtha, Navy Office of Community Outreach.)

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Hanchar, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Petty Officer 2nd Class Makeisha Villery, a native of Brandon, serves with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 78, operating out of San Diego, California. The squadron’s primary mission is to conduct sea-control operations in open-ocean and coastal environments. This includes hunting for submarines, searching for surface targets over the horizon and conducting search and rescue operations.

Villery, a 2016 King High School graduate, joined the Navy three years ago. “I joined the Navy to further my education and be able to support myself with a career at the same time,” said Villery.

Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those she found growing up in Brandon. “Having a good work ethic and always striving for greatness were taught to me as a child,” said Villery. “In the Navy, you never give up and never surrender. We do not stop until the job is done.”

Today, Villery serves with the helicopter squadron that flies the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. The MH-60R is a twin-engine helicopter used for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare, cargo lift and special operations.

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.”

Villery has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“Within two years of serving, I have been promoted twice,” said Villery. “Knowing that the hard work and dedication I am putting in is paying off is a big accomplishment.”

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

“My mother, Kim; my brother, Ty; and my fiance, Kievonze, have all supported me through every decision I have made,” said Villery. “They offer a sounding board for ideas and decisions I have to make. Having family back at home makes the job that much more important and special.”

Previous articleApplications For Mentoring Program With College Opportunity Open For Low-income Students
Next articleNew Memory Care Stations To Assist Residents Of Tessera Brandon