PETTY Officer Third Class Steven Robinson, a native of St James, Jamaica, serves the US Navy assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202 in support of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC).
Robinson joined the navy two years ago. Today, Robinson serves as a construction electrician.
"I joined the navy because I was looking for a new experience and I thought I could learn a lot in the Navy," said Robinson. "I was looking forward to learning about America and the world through the travel opportunities offered by the navy."
Growing up in St James, Robinson attended Irwin High School and graduated in 2012. Today Robinson relies upon skills and values similar to those found in St James to succeed in the military.
"Growing up in Jamaica I learnt that nothing is going to be handed to you," said Robinson. "There are a lot of opportunities, but you have to be willing to go out and get them."
These lessons have helped Robinson while serving with the navy.
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command was established in 2006 and is comprised of 20,000 active and reserve personnel serving around the world. They bridge the gap between sea and shore and support the fleet and joint force by clearing hazards, securing critical maritime terrain, building infrastructure, and protecting military forces. NECC includes navy divers, expeditionary logistics, explosive ordnance disposal, expeditionary intelligence, and the Seabees.
"In many warfare communities across the navy there is a lot of focus on platforms and systems – ships, submarines, and aircraft – which are all a very integral part of our maritime force," said NECC Force Master Chief Rick Straney. "For us in the expeditionary forces, our people are our weapons system. They represent an inherently mobile option for commanders to use around the world in a variety of complex, remote, and austere environments. We focus a lot of our effort on ensuring our warriors maintain a level of proficiency and readiness that enhances the ability of those larger platforms to do what they do at the time and point of need."
Serving in the navy means Robinson is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America's focus on strengthening alliances, modernising capabilities, increasing capacities, and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.
"The navy asserts dominance in the open seas to help protect freedom around the world," said Robinson. "In my opinion, the navy is the most important branch of the military."
With more than 90 per cent of all trade travelling by sea and 95 per cent of the world's international phone and Internet traffic carried through fibre optic cables lying on the ocean floor, navy officials continue to emphasise the importance of accelerating America's advantage at sea.
Robinson and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to garner accomplishments during their military service.
"My proudest accomplishment serving in the Navy is advancing in rank to petty officer third class on my first try," said Robinson. "I'm also proud of earning two warfare qualifications in such a short time in the navy. I came here with a goal, and I achieved that goal thanks to support from the leadership in my command.
"Serving in the navy makes me feel like I'm serving something larger than myself," added Robinson. "Coming in every day and seeing others making sacrifices, working towards a common goal is very rewarding. I'm looking forward to where this career will take me next."