A native of St Catherine, Jamaica, with hometown ties to Queens, New York, serves the US Navy aboard USS Boxer, which is homeported in San Diego.
Petty Officer Third Class Juanita McCurdy-Davis, a 2001 graduate of Old Harbor High School and 2017 Jamaica Theological Seminary graduate, joined the navy three years ago.
"I joined the navy to become a better version of myself, and that's exactly what has happened," said McCurdy-Davis. "I've become better in so many areas of my life. I've gotten an education and I support my family financially."
Today McCurdy-Davis serves as a culinary specialist.
A culinary specialist is responsible for catering to the nutritional needs of the sailors and making sure everyone gets a balanced, freshly prepared meal.
McCurdy-Davis relies upon skills and values from lessons learnt in St Catherine to succeed in the military.
"Growing up I learnt to respect everyone regardless of our differences, which is a big part of working on a ship," said McCurdy-Davis.
Boxer, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, commissioned February 11, 1995, is the sixth US ship to bear the name. The ship recently completed a scheduled maintenance availability and is preparing for upcoming operations.
Boxer's crew is made up of approximately 1,200 officers and enlisted personnel and can accommodate up to 1,800 marines. Amphibious assault ships transfer marines, equipment, and supplies and can support helicopters or other aircraft, according to navy officials. They also are capable of accessing 75 per cent of the world's beaches.
Serving in the navy means McCurdy-Davis is part of a world 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.
"We protect our country and our allies against threats and secure the maritime sea lanes," said McCurdy-Davis.
More than 90 per cent of all trade travels by sea, and fibre optic cables on the ocean floor carry 95 per cent of the world's international phone and Internet traffic.
Navy officials continue to emphasise that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to ready sailors and a strong navy.
"Maintaining the world's best navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States as well as the stability of our world," said Adm Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations."The US Navy – forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power — deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and guarantees free and open access to the world's oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet."
"The Surface Force will continue to meet the challenge of strategic competition and respond to the realities of the modern security environment," said Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm Roy Kitchener. "Our efforts are critical to preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression, and win wars."
Sailors like McCurdy-Davis have many opportunities to garner accomplishments during their military service.
"I earned my associate's degree in December 2020 and was promoted to petty officer third class three months later," said McCurdy-Davis. "I've also earned my surface and aviation warfare pins while working on this ship."
As McCurdy-Davis and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
"To me, serving in the navy means serving my fellow Americans," added McCurdy-Davis. "It's a privilege and an honour to do this work."