Los Fresnos Native Transports U.S. Marines from Sea to Shore Aboard U.S. Navy Warship

Seaman Valerie Huara is a personnel specialist aboard the dock landing ship operating out of Little Creek, Virginia. Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anna Van Nuys

by Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach

NORFOLK, VA – A Los Fresnos, Texas, native and 2017 Los Fresnos High Schoolgraduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Whidbey Island, a warship which transports and launches U.S. Marines from sea to shore as part of amphibious assault operations.

Seaman Valerie Huara is a personnel specialist aboard the dock landing ship operating out of Little Creek, Virginia.
A Navy personnel specialist is responsible for human resources and sailors’ pay aboard the ship.

Huara credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Los Fresnos.

“I understand the importance of humility and patience,” said Huara. “I took these lessons with me and continue to use them everyday.”

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.

Huara 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.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard this ship. About 300 men and women currently make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 400 Marines can be embarked, and the ship is capable of transporting these Marines and landing them where they are needed using helicopters and landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) vehicles.

“Every day I am amazed by the men and women of Whidbey Island,” said Cmdr. Jean Marie Sullivan, USS Whidbey Island commanding officer. “Their steadfast devotion to the ship, mental toughness to overcome any challenge and complete commitment to their fellow shipmates truly inspires. Whidbey Island sailors are why we can answer the call and go where it matters, when it matters.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Huarais most proud of earning her personnel specialist rating.

“I’m very proud of this accomplishment because I was very dedicated to earning the rating. I wanted and was willing to jump through many obstacles to receive it,” said Huara.

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

“My father served in the Army in the 1990s, my grandmother served in the Army in the 1970s, and my grandfather served in the Army during Vietnam,” said Huara. “My parents were the biggest influence in my life to join the military because they were extremely supportive of my decision.”

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

“Serving in the Navy has given me so many opportunities that I would not have had as a civilian,” Huara said. “Joining the Navy has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life and being able to experience and travel the world is something I’ve always dreamt of doing. Being able to accomplish this is fascinating.”

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