Lumberton resident commissioned as a U.S. naval officer

Pictured from left to right, LTJG Cory Gates, Cmdr. Christopher Barnes, LTJG Eric Fotso and Arlan DavisPictured from left to right, LTJG Cory Gates, Cmdr. Christopher Barnes, LTJG Eric Fotso and Arlan Davis

By Megan Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach

MILLINGTON, Tennessee – Lt. j.g. Eric Fotso, a resident of Lumberton, New Jersey, serving at Fleet Readiness Center Aviation Support Detachment Joint Base McGuire, Fort Dix, Lakehurst, New Jersey, recently commissioned as a U.S. naval officer. 

Fotso immigrated to the U.S. from Bafoussam, Cameroon, Africa, in January 2011 and enlisted in the Navy in April 2012.

“My first assignment was aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis from July 2012 to October 2016,” said Fotso. 

While serving aboard USS John C. Stennis, Fotso completed two 9-month deployments and participated in the 2016 Rim of the Pacific exercise.

“Growing up in Africa, I watched movies where American soldiers were the good guys and always came at the right time to defend and save those being oppressed,” said Fotso. “I dreamt of becoming one of them. However, where I was, in my native country Cameroon, I knew it was just a dream that would never come to fruition. Today, when my childhood friends and family remind me of those times, I pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming because, now, I am part of that team.”

Fotso was recently commissioned as a healthcare administrator in the Medical Service Corps.

Commissioning as an officer is just one of the many achievements Fotso has earned since joining the Navy. 

Fotso’s work has been recognized with four Navy and Marine Corps achievement medals, two letters of commendation and three Good Conduct awards. 

Serving in the Navy means Fotso is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy makes sure that our interests and our allies’ interests are protected,” said Fotso. “Our forward presence helps disrupt any potential ill-ambitions our adversaries may have.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Fotso is 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 follow.

“It gives me pride knowing that I am part of the 1% of the nation eligible to serve in our armed forces,” added Fotso. “I know that what I do greatly matters. I am extremely humbled to be part of something bigger than myself.”