Riverview native, Petty Officer 1st Class Diana Bautista. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Murtha, Navy Office of Community Outreach.)

By Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Petty Officer 1st Class Diana Bautista, a Riverview native, serves with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71, 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.

Bautista, a 2014 Richard C. Spoto High School graduate, joined the Navy eight years ago.

“I joined the Navy because I wanted to do something with my life that served a higher purpose,” said Bautista. “I was also interested in the financial benefits and assistance in earning a college degree.”

Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those Bautista found living and attending school in Riverview. “I learned the importance of discipline,” said Bautista. “I was in Navy Junior ROTC in high school, and that helped when I joined the military.”

Today, Bautista 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.”

As Bautista and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“I get to protect my country while earning benefits that help me with my goals in life,” said Bautista.

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

“I’d like to thank Master Chief Nadine Greene and Chief Roberts,” added Bautista. “They were my ROTC instructors in high school.”

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