Petty Officer 3rd Class Emily Grayson.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Emily Grayson. (U.S. Navy)

SAN DIEGO — Petty Officer Third Class Emily Grayson is one of more than 5,000 sailors serving aboard the self-contained mobile airport, USS Abraham Lincoln.

Equipped with a full flight deck and more than 60 aircraft including attack fighter jets and helicopters, aircraft carriers are one of the largest warships in the world.

Grayson, a 2020 La Poynor High School graduate from Frankston, Texas, joined the Navy two years ago.

“I joined the Navy to make my dad proud and to get discipline and structure,” Grayson said. “My dad was in the Army and served in Desert Storm and he inspired me to join.”

Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those found in Frankston.

“A valuable lesson I learned from my hometown is the importance of slowing down and enjoying the things around you,” Grayson said. “The Navy tends to be very fast-paced and can feel chaotic, so I remind myself of this during those times.”

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.

Aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) returns to its homeport of Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego on July 23, 2021.

Aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) returns to its homeport of Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego on July 23, 2021. (Rosa Paschall/U.S. Navy)

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 on the world’s ocean. 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.

“Sailors are truly the most valuable asset on USS Abraham Lincoln,” said Capt. Pete Riebe, commanding officer of USS Abraham Lincoln. “The crew has been working hard preparing the ship for deployment since I took command and I can’t wait to take the team to sea so that I can see these warfighters in action.”

This year commemorates 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola. One year later six of them, known as “The First Six,” earned their “Wings of Gold.” 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 is stronger because of their service.

With 90 percent 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.

As a member of the Navy, Grayson is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy is important to national defense because it is America’s forward-deployed force and is a major deterrent to adversaries around the world,” Grayson said.

Grayson has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“My proudest accomplishment in the Navy is every day when I put my uniform on,” Grayson said.

As Grayson and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy gives me a sense of purpose,” Grayson said. “Being in the Navy has taught me how to keep pushing forward no matter how hard things get.”

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

“I would like to thank my dad for being the reason to go forward when I feel like giving up,” Grayson said.

(c)2023 the Palestine Herald-Press (Palestine, Texas)

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