LAKEHURST, N.J. - Petty Officer 1st Class Aviation Warfare/ Surface Warfare, Tinisha Franklin has earned recognition as Lakehurst Sailor of the Quarter and Year in 2010, and a three-time recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal. She also served as a Navy Ball and Cultural Diversity committee volunteer as well as a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program advocate.
With all the recognition under her belt, Franklin also earned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in criminal justice specialization in homeland security. She completed all of this in her eight-year tenure in the Navy and as a single parent.
“I joined the Navy because the thought of serving my country has always been appealing to me,” said Franklin.
Franklin serves as an Aviation Launch and Recovery Equipment specialist at Lakehurst working with the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System. She has assisted in testing and launching more than eight different aircraft while here to include the F-18 Super Hornet and the newly developed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“I think back to my deployments where I assisted in the recovery of multimillion dollar aircraft landing on the flight deck,” said Franklin. “This is not what I saw myself doing when I was a kid, but it is definitely something I love being a part of.”
During her two deployments, one is support of Enduring Freedom and one in support of Iraqi Freedom, Franklin had the chance to visit several countries including: South Africa, England, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey. She also visited Dubai, sovereign state of the United Arab Emirates.
“I also joined the Navy to see the world,” said Franklin. “I never pass up the opportunity to tour the countries I visit.”
When touring or site seeing in the countries she is deployed to, Franklin takes in the history, purchases books and takes photos.
“I am a single mother to my 12-year-old daughter Maya,” said Franklin. “Since Maya cannot come with me I always bring back things from the countries to show her and her classmates.”
Franklin served on the USS Theodore Roosevelt during both her deployments, which each lasted about seven months.
“I know Maya doesn’t like when I deploy, but she is very proud to have a mom who serves in the military,” said Franklin.
Franklin is the only person within her immediate family to currently serve in the military as well as the only female in her family to ever serve in the military.
“I have received support from my family throughout my eight years of service,” said Franklin. “My mom constantly tells me how proud she is of me for serving.”
After reaching the grade of E-6 within her first eight years, Franklin plans to put in a package to become an officer.
“I’ve wanted to serve the military as a JAG officer for a long time now,” said Franklin. “Now that I have my bachelor’s degree and am working on my masters for Critical Incident Management and Legal Studies, I am making that dream a reality.”
Franklin would like to use her criminal justice degree to work for Immigration and Customs after she leaves the military.
“I want to assist people affected by human and drug trafficking situations,” said Franklin. “This is something that I have read about over the years it has really struck a chord with me.”
As Franklin continues her education, she is now preparing for another deployment. She will serve upon the USS Harry S Truman.
“I’ve deployed before and know that when I’m on the flight deck all the other sailors have my back just as I have theirs.” said Franklin. “We are like a family out there and we never let one another down.”
Franklin acknowledges that she has been fortunate throughout her career when it comes to leadership.
“I’ve always been given support and understanding, especially as a single parent,” said Franklin. “My chain of command has always been supportive of my educational goals.”
Franklin saw herself as a teacher when she was a high school student, but as she grew older and attended community college her interests and goals changed.
“It is important to be resilient and be open to change,” said Franklin. “I no longer fear change and instead see it as a positive.”
Franklin said that being a female she feels just as important as any other sailor and knows if she were to call upon fellow shipmates for assistance help, they would go above and beyond for her.
“Joining the military is a huge commitment and should not be taken lightly,” said Franklin. “The military is not for everyone, but it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I love the Navy and feel a lot of camaraderie among my fellow sailors.”
Franklin, was surrounded by her family when she re-enlisted for an additional six years at Philadelphia Eagles stadium, this past October.