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Focus on Service

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.

Others serve proudly having grown up in a military family, experiencing firsthand the rewards and trials of service with honor.

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.
Photo for Son To Shipmate story.


"Having my son here actually brings back a piece of home," said Sosa. "It's hard to explain, but it's a good feeling to be able to get away from work and sit down and say 'Hey Son, how are you doing?'"

While Sosa and Carter are enjoying their time serving together, Sosa said it might not be long before another member of the family puts on the uniform for the first time.

"I have another son who is 18 and just graduated high school telling me he is headed over to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and plans on joining as well," said Sosa. "He tells me he definitely wants to be on the aviation side. It makes me feel proud."

Sosa credits his sons' interest in the Navy with his positivity and true love of his job. He said that by seeing him happy and enjoying his work, he gave them a positive image of the Navy throughout their childhood.

"It tells me that they see what I've done and take pride in it also," said Sosa. "They are choosing to follow in my footsteps, but I want them to make their own footsteps and walk their own path. In the end, I want them to be the men they want to be, and above all, I want them to be honorable."

That honor would no doubt be an inherited trait.