FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NNS) -- Beaming with pride and patriotism on the day after Veterans' Day, it was only fitting that Machinist's Mate Daniel Garciacastellanos took the oath of reenlistment on USS Ronald Reagan's (CVN 76) flight deck during the carrier's maiden port visit to Fort Lauderdale. Observing from the audience were Commanding Officer Capt. James A. Symonds, local city mayors and area Boy Scouts.
Before his reenlistment oath, Garciacastellanos was honorably discharged and became a civilian for a few minutes. During that time, he thanked the Navy and people who have supported him over the years. "Thank you all. I am very proud to be in the Navy and to serve on this incredible ship."
Lt. j.g. Catherine Wilson of the Reactor Training Department administered the oath of reenlistment. "This is wonderful. Daniel is an enthusiastic and hard working Sailor."
Garciacastellanos, 23, was born in Puerto Rico and joined the Navy two years ago. After attending boot camp, he went to nuclear power 'A' school.
Surrounded by dozens of Boy Scouts, Garciacastellanos recalled his youth. "I was a Boy Scout when I was young. You all being here brings back memories and makes this special to me," said Garciacastellanos.
When asked why he joined the Navy, Garciacastellanos replied, "My grandfather use to sail boats. I have been taught to love the sea since I was a kid. I also wanted to do something to make a difference.”
“The Navy is not for everybody, but if it is for you, you will get a lot out of it,” said Garciacastellanos. "It will make you a better person, and you will feel like you are doing something good."
Garciacastellanos works in the carrier’s Reactor Department, which is responsible for providing water, electricity and power throughout the ship.
After five months serving aboard Ronald Reagan, Garciacastellanos' enthusiasm has not waned. "My job is very hard, but gratifying. I am very proud of what I do. The people I work with are very intelligent, and they are some of the smartest people I have ever met. It is an honor to work with them."
"Machinist's Mates are in charge of maintaining all the machines -- preservation, stowage and cleanliness," said Garciacastellanos. "We run the show down below in the Reactor Department 24 hours a day. It is a steam plant that powers the ship that makes electrical power and makes the water for everyone to shower with."
As part of his reenlistment package, Garciacastellanos was promoted to Petty Officer 2nd Class, awarded a check for $25,276 and offered a helicopter ride around Port Everglades. "Life is good! When I was on the helicopter, I got to see the Reagan in all its majesty, and I felt so proud."
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76.