MILLINGTON, Tenn. An area native is serving aboard USS Iwo Jima, a U.S. Navy Wasp class amphibious assault ship.
Fireman Jason Gilbert is a 2019 Russell High School graduate. Today, Gilbert serves as a machinist mate.
“I would describe my job as a ship mechanic, working to make sure equipment around the ship is always working," said Gilbert.
Gilbert joined the Navy two years ago for life experience.
"I joined the Navy because I always wanted to serve," said Gilbert. “I also knew I wanted a blue-collar job and needed some job experience. This job offers me both. It really worked out perfect.”
According to Gilbert, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in the Ashland area.
“Growing up I moved a lot and made plenty of friends, many of these friends I consider family," said Gilbert. “If it weren't for them, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be where I am today.”
Iwo Jima is the seventh Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and the second ship in the U.S. Navy to bear that name. The ship was named for the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II.
According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.
Gilbert’s favorite part of working in the Navy is carrying on a family tradition.
“The one thing I like most about serving aboard is knowing that I'm carrying on a legacy that my great grandfather passed down to me," said Gilbert. “He served in World War II, knowing that if he was still here, he would be so proud.”
Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers, Gilbert is most proud of earning two warfare pins.
“I'm most proud of is being one of two dual qualified E-3 sailors out of the entire engineering department,” said Gilbert.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Gilbert, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving the world's greatest Navy means everything to me,” added Gilbert. “I take pride in what and it's been a real blessing. Being out here, knowing that what we do is making a difference.”