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    Navy’s 244th Birthday No Higher Honor



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Trey Hutcheson 


    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - (Oct. 7, 2019) On Oct. 13, 1775 the United States Second Continental Congress authorized the procurement, outfitting, manning, and dispatch of two vessels to search for munitions ships that were supplying the adversarial Royal Navy.

    It was at that very moment, 244 years ago, that the fledgling Continental Navy was established, a humble beginning for a maritime force that enjoys unparalleled superiority today. This year’s birthday celebration centers on the theme “No Higher Honor,” which honors the heroism and pride of U.S. Navy Sailors.

    John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States and an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, possibly said it best about civic action and public service.

    “My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” said Kennedy. “My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

    With his speech, President Kennedy channeled the actions and words of his fellow World War II brothers-in-arms. According to Naval History and Heritage Command, “for heroism, look no further than the crew of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413), during Leyte Gulf’s Battle off Samar.
    On Oct. 25, 1944, during the invasion of the Philippines, Roberts and her crew, along with a small group of accompanying destroyers known collectively as Taffy 3, bravely charged into a line of Japanese battleships to protect American forces landing on the islands. Roberts sank around 10:07 a.m., the day she entered battle. Although the destroyers were thoroughly routed, their actions prevented the enemy forces from concentrating fire on the landing forces. Lt. Cmdr. Robert W. Copeland, the commanding officer aboard Roberts, would later recount the Battle of Leyte Gulf extolling the valor of his crew in the face of such overwhelming odds, stating that there was ‘no higher honor’ than to have the privilege to command such a crew.”

    For Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Juan Fernandez, the intermediate maintenance (IM) 5 branch chief in the aircraft intermediate maintenance department aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), acts of heroism in the Navy come with the territory, and serving in the Navy gives him the thrill of a lifetime.

    “There’s nothing in this world that can compare to being in between two fighter jets at full burner on catapults one and two,” said Fernandez. “It feels like your soul is about to jump out of your body. It’s amazing. Sailors belong at sea. It’s where we can give back and do our part to defend our freedom and the rest of the world.”

    Fernandez has great pride for his country and the Navy because of the positive effects they have had on his family.

    “My grandfather migrated to the United States more than 50 years ago; my dad shortly after,” said Fernandez. “This country has been great to my family, all three generations. What better way to give back than to serve in the United States Navy. I chose the Navy because of the heritage and traditions. Besides, there's nothing in this world saltier than a Navy chief at sea!”

    Sailors today must carry on the legacy of toughness, initiative, and integrity that was shown in countless conflicts throughout the history of the United States.

    “It all starts with the simple thought of wanting to enlist in the Navy,” said Fernandez. “At this point Sailors have already decided that they're willing to sacrifice, not only their time, but also their family, their future, and in some extreme cases their life. All of this will require toughness, initiative, and integrity.”

    The United States Navy’s inception began with only a few ships back in 1775, but now has grown to become the most capable and advanced Navy the world has ever seen. Through 244 years of storied history, Sailors have continued to prove that there is “no higher honor” than serving in the maritime service. Millions of Sailors have answered the call to serve, and their impacts on their nation have continued to shape the course of world events.

    Join the conversation with GW at www.facebook.com/USSGW, www.instagram.com/ussgw, and www.twitter.com/GW_CVN73. For more news from USS George Washington, visit www.Navy.mil/local/cvn73/.



    Date Taken: 10.07.2019
    Date Posted: 10.31.2019 13:33
    Story ID: 347658
    Location: NEWPORT NEWS, VA, US 

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