Petty Officer Timothy Smith, U.S. Navy
I'm a Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class in the U.S. Navy. I first signed up to join the Navy in January, 2006, while I was still in school at University High. My brother had served in the Navy as a Machinist Mate onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in Newport News, Virginia. It was his urging that made me join the Navy, he knew it would be a positive choice for me. I left for boot camp on September 14, 2006, and checked onboard USS Eisenhower in February, 2007 while the crew was on station in the Persian Gulf.
Onboard USS Eisenhower, I underwent three deployments and countless sea trials. I cannot deny that the most difficult struggles of my life were while I was half a world away from my family, but I served among the best sailors in the Navy. I am proud to serve alongside my brothers and sisters while deployed in 2007, 2009, and 2010.
When I reenlisted in 2010, I received orders to serve on staff in the Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains in Arlington, Virginia. The history in the area and significant military presence has given me a pride in my uniform and all service that is completely unique to the National Capital Region. The Chaplains I work with in this office seek out opportunities to serve in more than an administrative status; since being stationed here we have all been to several funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery to show support for and stand alongside the grieving families of fallen Sailors and Marines.
The most striking and unforgettable time of my life was on deployment in 2010. While on a routine flight, an E2-C Hawkeye had engine trouble and was going down. The pilot, LT Steve Zilberman, in order to rescue his team, was forced to keep the plane steady while the crew bailed out. He crash landed the plane and was lost at sea. It was his sacrifice that spared the rest of his crew.
I was told to always be proud of the uniform I wear, service men and women have bled and died in this uniform. It is the honor we are due to them to wear it with dignity and pride and never forget the fallen and lost.