NAVAL STRIKE AND AIR WARFARE CENTER, NAS FALLON, Nev. (NNS) -- Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alberto Arce-Rodriguez, stationed at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fallon, Nev., received a very long-awaited call early last month.
Mess Specialist 3rd Class Mercy Schoch stationed aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), excitedly called to tell him she was home after completing her first deployment, one of the longest in history.
"Dad we're home," said Schoch. "And I made 3rd, too."
"So did I," replied Arce.
Arce and his daughter were both selected as petty officers 3rd class from the latest advancement cycle. They reunited for the first time since last summer in Fallon, as Arce was frocked by NSAWC Commander Rear Adm. Dave Nichols.
Arce admitted there was some healthy competition before the results when Schoch challenged him, saying she would make advancement before Dad.
"I had to make third," Arce said jokingly. "I couldn't imagine my daughter out-ranking me after 10 years of service."
Arce chose to trade his Army green for Navy blue in June 2001. Because he switched services, he was reduced in rank from E-5 to E-3, but felt the change was worthwhile.
"I was ok with the reduction in rank because of the Navy's way of practicing medicine," said Arce. "The Navy hospital corpsman program seemed to have more areas of medicine to learn about."
In February 2002, his daughter chose a similar path.
"I grew up as a military brat with my father and I hated it," said Schoch. "We moved at least once every two years."
After graduating high school, Schoch, like many young graduates, didn't have stable income or a means to afford the high cost of college tuition. The armed services provided an opportunity for her.
"I did it for the money," said Schoch. The military just seemed like the way to go."
She admits her father's change in services influenced her decision to pick the Navy over the other services. After talking with Arce, she decided she was ready.
"He definitely coached me and helped persuade me towards the Navy," said Schoch.
Shortly after joining the Navy, Schoch found herself departing for a record-breaking deployment, which left her at sea for nearly 10 months aboard one of the largest ships in the world. Separated by thousands of miles and a war, she still got support from Dad.
According to Schoch, she relied heavily on the support and encouragement of her father. His military experience got her through the rough times of a deployment.
"Any time a tough situation came up, I would email him and tell him I couldn't do it, or 'Dad I'm going to get in trouble,'" said Schoch. "He would just tell me to calm down, control my temper, or he would tell me how to handle the stress."
"I couldn't have done it without him," added Schoch.
Although May 19 was Arce's day to celebrate his promotion, his feelings were toward his daughter, as she prepared to return to Everett, Wash., and receive her crow before the crew of her ship.
"I'm very proud that she has decided to serve our nation," said Arce. "She did what she had to do and did it with no hesitation at all."
Although Arce and Schoch are father and daughter in the Navy with the same rank, they say their relationship won't change at all, with one exception, according to Schoch.
"I'll make second first," said Schoch.
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