From Son To Shipmate
Father and son proudly serve together
For some, a family legacy of military service is a historical connection, with today's service members carrying on the tradition from a relative who may have served during World War II or before.
Very few have the opportunity to stand alongside those whose tradition they further.
As USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) conducts operations with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 122 Flying Eagles, Aviation Structural Mechanic (Safety Equipment) Airman Jaylen Carter has the chance to do just that. Carter is the son of Senior Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Alfonso D. Sosa, Carl Vinson's night aircraft handling officer. Both Sailors are Brooklyn, New York, natives.
Seeing my dad on that first day up in the tower was definitely crazy. I never imagined we would be on the same ship." - AMEAN Carter
Carter said he decided to join the military in his junior year of high school. While his father always told him the military was an option, Carter said he never forced the issue.
"The military was always there for me, and I've seen my dad and I know what to expect," said Carter. "It's been a part of my life for so long and it just seemed like the right route to go."
Carter added that serving alongside Sosa allowed him to see the "senior chief petty officer" side of the man he's always known as "Dad."
"I get to see him in action, he gets to see me in action," said Carter. "For both of our jobs to come together like that is really cool."
For Sosa, service with his son has allowed him to see the boy he raised as a grown man.
"It makes me proud," said Sosa. "Now, I see him working and conducting himself in a professional environment and I don't see a child anymore. I see a grown man doing his job and defending his country."
Sosa said that just as he takes pride in the success of the Sailors he mentors, he is filled with pride as he sees his son leading others and living the values by which he was raised. Sosa went on to say that seeing Carter around the ship brings a feeling of home to a place where, while out to sea, shipmates serve as family.