Son of Willingboro resident serves aboard Navy warship in San Diego

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Hanchar, Navy Office of Community OutreachPhoto by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Hanchar, Navy Office of Community Outreach

By Megan Brown
Navy Office of Community Outreach

SAN DIEGO (SBN) — Petty Officer 1st Class Anderson Degazon, the son of a Willingboro, New Jersey, resident, serves aboard the U.S. Navy warship, USS Harpers Ferry, operating out of San Diego, California.Degazon joined the Navy 10 and a half years ago.“I joined the Navy because I had met a Marine and I realized he had a lot of experiences I wanted to have,” said Degazon. “There is a lot of camaraderie in the military. It also happened that my buddy I play soccer with, joined the Army and deployed to Afghanistan at that time. I felt like joining was the right choice for me.”

Skills and values similar to those taught during Degazon’s upbringing are important to succeed in the military.

“Growing up, my mother was an incredibly patient woman,” said Degazon. “I inherited that trait from her. Today, it is one of the tools I use in my job to work with people from all over the world who have different backgrounds. Being able to sit and understand their backgrounds is a very vital tool to have.”

Harpers Ferry is a dock landing ship named for the town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, which because of the U.S. arsenal there, was an important location during the Civil War.

According to Navy officials, dock landing ships support amphibious operations including landings via Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), conventional landing craft and helicopters, onto hostile shores. These ships transport and launch amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel in amphibious assault operations.

With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

“Our mission remains timeless – to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”

As a member of the Navy, Degazon is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy serves as a deterrent to foreign aggression and unwanted threats,” said Degazon. “We are large and we are everywhere. The U.S. Navy has a certain reputation that carries internationally because of our capabilities and presence.”

Degazon has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I joined the Navy much later than most,” said Degazon. “I was 30 when I enlisted and it turned out to be a huge blessing. My biggest accomplishment is how I inspire young people by encouraging them to get more education. I’m also proud of watching sailors grow and chart their own paths. For a personal accomplishment, I am proud of being a part of the Fleet Marine Force community as a corpsman. It is very sacred because we take care of Marines. Their medical care comes from the Navy. It is one of the most unique relationships we have in the military.”

As Degazon and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy is humbling,” said Degazon. “I feel like I am always learning new things and being challenged because it is a very dynamic work environment where there are always people coming and going. I am also an immigrant, so the Navy has given me a lot of opportunities to give back to others and to a country that has given me so much.”

Degazon is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank all of the chiefs I have met and former gunnery sergeant, Alfredo Gonzalez, who initially put me on the path to joining the Navy,” added Degazon. “He is one of the most honorable and upstanding people I have ever met. He truly upholds our values. I also want to thank the junior sailors who have kept my life interesting over the years and have kept it from getting stale.”