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Spring Valley native serves aboard U.S. Navy floating airport

By Alvin Plexico
Navy Office of Community Outreach

NORFOLK, Va. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Lebaron, a native of Spring Valley, California, is one of more than 5,000 sailors serving aboard the self-contained mobile airport, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Lebaron graduated in 2010 from Mount Miguel High School.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Spring Valley.

“San Diego is really diverse, so I gained an appreciation for different cultures and being around people from all different walks of life,” said Lebaron. “It’s very similar in the Navy, so I’m able to communicate better and am more comfortable in this environment. I’m also more willing to learn from my shipmates and their experiences.”

Lebaron joined the Navy three years ago. Today, Lebaron serves as a mass communication specialist.

“I joined the Navy because I wanted a stable career and a job that would teach me discipline,” said Lebaron.

Aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of America’s Naval forces. For more than 100 years, they have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.

According to Navy officials, aircraft carriers are versatile and have unique mission capabilities that make them a more strategic asset for the Navy than fixed-site bases. They are often the first response in a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere in the world.

In addition, no other weapon system can deploy and operate forward with a full-sized, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s speed, endurance, agility and the combat capability of its air wing.

“Mighty IKE” is a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named for Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of only four five-star U.S. Army generals and a hero of World War II who would later serve as the 34th president of the United States. Homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, the carrier is longer than three football fields at 1,092 feet. The ship is 252 feet wide and weighs more than 100,000 tons.

This year commemorates 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Six of them, known as “The First Six,” earned their “Wings of Gold” one year later. Over the past 50 years, the Navy has expanded its roles for women to lead and serve globally, and today women aviators project power from the sea in every type of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft. According to Navy officials, our nation and our Navy are stronger because of their service.

Serving in the Navy means Lebaron is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy’s important for national defense because the oceans make up a majority of the earth,” said Lebaron. “Having a well-equipped Navy is important to maintain freedom of the seas. We pride ourselves on maintaining that freedom.”

With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

Lebaron has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I’m proud of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal I was awarded in August,” said Lebaron. “I was part of the VIPER (visual information personnel) team and trained our sailors to be proficient at the VIPER mission.”

As Lebaron and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means that I can take care of myself and put myself in a position to succeed for the rest of my life,” said Lebaron. “I’m also making friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

Lebaron is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I want to thank my mom, Maria Montes, for supporting me,” added Lebaron. “My mom’s always there when I need her. She’s like my guardian angel.”

Reprinted courtesy United States Navy.

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