Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller
By Megan Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach
SAN DIEGO – Nearly three years ago, Petty Officer 3rd Class Gavaughn Smith joined the Navy to advance his career and better himself. Now he is serving aboard USS Boxer.
Smith is a hospital corpsman who is responsible for assisting dentists, taking x-rays, and conducting teeth cleanings. “My favorite part about my job is being able to travel, visit new ports and see new countries,” said Gavaughn. “Thailand was my favorite country because it reminded me of Jamaica and it is a completely different atmosphere then what you are accustomed to the U.S.”
According to Smith, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Brooklyn. “Growing up and being a cadet, I understood that to serve it took sacrifice and dedication to effectively carry out your duties,” said Smith.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
Boxer is an amphibious assault ship that has recently returned from a Western Pacific-Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf deployment. It is the sixth ship to carry the name Boxer. Amphibious assault ships are used to transfer Marines, equipment and supplies and can support helicopters or other aircraft. They also are capable of accessing 75% of the world’s beaches.
According to Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, the focus of today’s Navy is squarely on warfighting, warfighters and the capabilities needed for the Navy of the future. “I am confident we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” said Gilday. “And we will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”
There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers. Smith is most proud of winning Sailor of the Quarter and being meritoriously advanced to the next rank.
“It showed that my leadership and my command appreciated my hard work and my devotion was noticed and recognized,” said Smith.
For Smith, serving in the Navy is a tradition passed down from generations and one Smith hopes to continue.
“My brother was in the Army,” said Smith. “It is an honor seeing that he served in Iraq and I have completed one deployment. It is kind of a sibling rivalry to see who can go on more deployments and who can serve longer. It is an honor to serve the same country but different branches.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Smith, 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 means I am a part of a brotherhood with deep roots and tradition that has overcome much adversity and withstood the test of time,” said Smith.