2018-05-09 / Front Page

Queens Native Serves at Camp Smith in Hawaii

BY KAYLA TURNBOW, NAVY OFFICE OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH

Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Gutierrez.Photo Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse HawthornePetty Officer 1st Class Richard Gutierrez.Photo Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse HawthorneA Queens native is serving in the US Navy at United States Pacific Command.

Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Gutierrez, a yeoman, is serving at Camp H.M. Smith in the area of operations where US Pacific Fleet Headquarters is located.

According to Navy officials, the US Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.

As a yeoman, Gutierrez is responsible for administrative duties for the command.

“Growing up I learned a lot of street smarts,” said Gutierrez. “In the Navy, that transfers over as situational awareness, which is important.”

Being stationed near Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means that Gutierrez is serving in a part of the world that is taking on new importance in America’s national defense strategy.

The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades, according to Navy officials. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many US allies.

The Navy has plans, by 2020, to base approximately 60 percent of its ships and aircraft in the region. Officials say the Navy will also provide its most advanced warfighting platforms to the region, including missile defense-capable ships, submarines, reconnaissance aircraft, and its newest surface warfare ships, including all of the Navy’s new stealth destroyers.

Gutierrez has military ties with family members who have previously served, and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“I have a lot of family in all of the branches, except the Coast Guard,” said Gutierrez. “I was one of the first to join and the rest of my younger cousins decided to join based on what I was doing.”

Gutierrez’s proudest accomplishment was earning two Flag Letters of Commendation and a Joint Service Achievement Medal for color guard duty.

As a member of the US Navy, Gutierrez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I have served in the Navy for about 14 years,” added Gutierrez. “It means traveling the world and giving back to the United States. It is important to be a role model to my family and kids.”

 

 

 

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