By Stephanie Fox, Navy Office of Community Outreach (photo courtesy of the US Navy)
Virginia Beach, Va. – Petty Officer 1st Class Jessica Cassidy, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, serves the U.S. Navy assigned to Naval Air Station Oceana. Cassidy joined the Navy nine years ago. Today, Cassidy serves as an air traffic controller.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted to try something new, experience something different and challenge myself,” said Cassidy.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Cassidy attended Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology and graduated in 2013.
“Don't forget where you come from,” said Cassidy. "Every time I tell people in the Navy that I'm from Jacksonville they give such excited responses. People love Jacksonville. Serving has given me a new sense of pride for my hometown."
Naval Air Station Oceana serves as the Navy’s East Coast Master Jet Base. The flight line, Apollo Soucek Field, is home to 17 aviation squadrons, and hosts the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
The Super Hornet is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, according to Navy officials. The aircraft takes off from and lands on Navy aircraft carriers at sea and is capable of conducting air-to-air combat as well as striking targets on land.
Serving in the Navy means Cassidy 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 contributes to the National Defense Strategy through our maritime presence,” said Cassidy. "I've been on two deployments. From the inside looking out it doesn't feel like we did a whole lot. But from the outside looking in, we're demonstrating our presence. That says something to our allies and our adversaries. We’re anywhere at any time. That is a really important message to send."
“My proudest Navy accomplishment is my last two deployments,” said Cassidy. "My first deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower was 206 days at sea with no ports. It was so much fun. I got so many qualifications and incredible experiences out of it. I loved my crew. You're a family out there. Doing that deployment made me realize how resilient I am. If I could do that, I knew that I could do anything. I'm also proud of my second deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. We deployed three months after the first deployment. It was another seven months at sea. This time we had port stops, but because of COVID-19 we weren't allowed out in town. That deployment gave me another plethora of opportunities. I was prepared for this deployment because of my first, but it still had an abundance of new lessons to teach me that the first deployment hadn't. It gave me the chance to gain qualifications that are usually reserved for officers, which is great because I'm currently in the process of applying to be an officer."
“To me, serving in the Navy means job fulfillment every single day,” added Cassidy. "As cliché as it sounds, it's incredible being a part of something bigger than myself. I get to be a part of the puzzle that contributes to our country’s freedoms. I just love the Navy. I've done things in the Navy I never thought I would.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jessica Cassidy of Jacksonville, thank you for your service!