NORFOLK, VA. -- Ensign Delfino Garcia, a native of Okeechobee, Florida, serves the U.S. Navy aboard a U.S. Navy warship operating out of Norfolk.
Garcia joined the Navy seven years ago. Today, Garcia serves as a surface warfare officer aboard USS Bulkeley.
“At a young age, I wanted to serve in the military,” said Garcia. "I started exploring the different branches, and the Navy piqued my interest.”
Growing up in Okeechobee, Garcia attended Okeechobee High School and graduated in 2014. Today, Garcia relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Okeechobee to succeed in the military.
“I come from a really big family with nine siblings,” said Garcia. "The value of family and maintaining relationships is very important in the Navy."
These lessons have helped Garcia while serving aboard USS Bulkeley.
A Navy destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.
Destroyers like USS Bulkeley are taking part in an initiative called Task Group Greyhound (TGG). It is designed to provide the fleet with additional continuously ready, fully certified warships prepared to accomplish a full range of on-demand missions. TGG assigns Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers homeported at Mayport, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia to be at-the-ready to fill fleet commander requirements and to counter Russian naval threats to the homeland. A growing priority, the destroyer's activities also support the need to maintain an undersea warfare competitive edge over Russian submarines off the East Coast.
Serving in the Navy means Garcia is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy is important to national security because the Navy provides an international presence on international waters around the world,” said Garcia. "Free trade depends on the U.S. Navy."
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through underwater fiber optic, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
The Surface Force is responding to the realities of the modern security environment, and their efforts are critical in preserving freedom of the seas, deterring aggression, and winning wars.
According to Commander Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, “The Surface Force will continue to meet the challenge of strategic competition and respond to the realities of the modern security environment. Our efforts are critical to preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression and win wars.”
Garcia and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“Graduating from the Naval Academy is something I'm proud of,” said Garcia. "I'm the first in my family to graduate college. It was an accomplishment that made my family proud."
As Garcia and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy means sacrifice,” added Garcia. "Leaving my hometown and leaving my family behind was the hardest thing I've ever done. Knowing we go to work every day ready to provide for our nation's defense can be a challenge, but it's also super rewarding."
USS Bulkeley is part of the USS George H.W. Bush Strike Group ramping up for a fleet exercise that will integrate multi-level faceted training that will prepare them for future deployments. The ship’s crew has successfully completed all basic phase training and is making outstanding progress to be prepared to operate in a complex seamanship environment.