Jacksonville, N.C. native serves aboard U.S. Navy warship in Japan
By Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan Feb. 10, 2015 – A 2009 Camp Lejeune High School graduate and Jacksonville, N.C. native currently serves aboard the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington, stationed at a U.S. Navy base located 35 miles south of Tokyo.
Seaman Antonyo Wilson is an undesignated seaman aboard the aircraft carrier operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. While out at sea, the ship visits numerous countries each year such as the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
George Washington is one of only 10 currently operational aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy. It is the sixth Nimitz-class carrier and the fourth Navy vessel named after the first president of the United States. Measuring nearly 1,100 feet from bow to stern on the flight deck, the ship is longer than three football fields. It is 257 feet wide, 244 feet high and weighs nearly 100,000 tons.
As a sailor with numerous responsibilities, Wilson said he is proud to serve his country aboard an aircraft carrier in Japan.
“My favorite things about serving aboard the ship are the views. The sunrises are peaceful and they give you a moment to reflect on your thoughts,” said Wilson.
Wilson also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the Washington’s 3,300-member crew, living thousands of miles from home, and protecting America on the world’s oceans.
“I drive and steer the ship,” Wilson explained. “We are in charge of the preservation of the ship and the underway replenishment and refueling.”
Assigned to the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, George Washington sailors are continuously on watch throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, acting as one of America’s first responders in the Navy’s largest area of responsibility.
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard George Washington. The ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly, including everything from launching and recovering aircraft to operating its nuclear propulsion plant. Another 2,000 Sailors are assigned to the ship’s embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing Five, flying and maintaining aircraft aboard the ship.
“I never cease to be impressed with the type and quality of work that goes on aboard the carrier each day,” said Capt. Timothy Kuehhas, the carrier’s commanding officer. “Our team is filled with highly qualified young adults – in many cases, 19 and 20 years old – and they’re out here launching and recovering aircraft, running a complex propulsion system safely, serving as air traffic controllers, operating sophisticated electronics, and keeping this floating city alive and functioning. Collectively, they are part of the greatest ship in our navy. They are proud of their ship and proud of what they do for the United States Navy and their country. If you pick up a newspaper in any city and examine what other 19- and 20-year-olds are doing, there is no comparison to the level of responsibility our Sailors hold.”
George Washington is also a self-sustaining, mobile airport and, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. While underway, the ship carries more than 70 jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land on the carrier’s 4.5-acre flight deck. Four powerful catapults launch aircraft off the bow of the ship. After lowering a tail hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft, jets and aircraft land by snagging a steel cable called an arresting wire.
Wilson and other George Washington sailors know they are part of a forward-deployed team that is heavily relied upon to help protect and defend America across the world’s oceans.
“My job is important for integrity of the ship,” said Wilson. “We are like the backbone of the ship, and do a lot of the dirty work.”
Why Being There Matters
On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.