Dover sailor serves aboard a floating airport at sea

SAN DIEGO — A Dover native and 2013 Caesar Rodney High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jaryn Jackson is a logistics specialist aboard the carrier operating out of San Diego. As a Navy logistics specialist, Officer Jackson is responsible for maintaining, ordering and inventorying all stock onboard the ship.

Officer Jackson credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Dover.

“The diversity in Dover is amazing,” said Jackson. “There are people from everywhere there. Growing up in that environment allowed me to be aware that we are a global community.”

Named in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet. The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 252 feet wide.

Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Being stationed in San Diego, the principal homeport of the Pacific Fleet, means Jackson is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many U.S. allies. The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Jackson is most proud of the recognition his division has received for their outstanding efforts.

“Our division in the logistics department won the first two Navy wide Jackueline G. Brown Logistics Excellence Awards for setting the highest standard of logistics professionalism and supply excellence on the Pacific Coast,” said Jackson. “We have a great team. Everyone puts in a lot of hard work everyday. It’s nice to know that it’s noticed and that hard work does pay off.”

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Officer Jackson, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. He is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My father retired from the Air Force and provided a great example as to what is available in the military,” said Jackson. “It provided him a steady job and he achieved a college education. My father was the first in our family to get a degree and I want to follow in his footsteps.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard the carrier. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 men and women form the air wing responsible for flying and maintaining the aircraft aboard the ship.

“Naval aviation is the ultimate team sport, and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier cannot accomplish her mission without the professionalism and expertise of every sailor aboard,” said Capt. Carlos Sardiello, commanding officer Theodore Roosevelt. “The crew of Theodore Roosevelt has proven themselves time and time again, and their level of professionalism and dedication is second to none.”

Theodore Roosevelt, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.

All of this makes the Theodore Roosevelt a self-contained mobile airport and strike platform, and often the first response to a global crisis because of a carrier’s ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Jackson and other Theodore Roosevelt sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“There is always something on the horizon here and I am always looking forward,” added Officer Jackson.

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