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Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jennifer McAdams, from Newburgh, New York, always wanted to join the Navy to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps.
“My grandfather was a hospital corpsman during World War II and he was the foundation of our family,” said McAdams. “I wanted to do anything to make him proud of me and I very much wanted to be like him.”
Now with nearly six years of active-duty service, McAdams is assigned to the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and is fulfilling her goals.
As the interior communications leading petty officer, McAdams is responsible for leading her Sailors in maintaining and repairing an extensive amount of critical systems equipment.
“My department is responsible for maintaining all of Kearsarge’s combat systems and my division owns a lot of that real estate,” said McAdams. “We make sure that the TV circuits, phone circuits, alarms - like the chemical and collision warning alarms - eyewash stations and almost every type of electronic safety measure is in working condition.”
Kearsarge commissioned 27 years ago and McAdams said that a lot of the work they do is a result of keeping up with the ship’s age but is, “both challenging and rewarding.”
Leading her Sailors and keeping the ship’s electronics systems online is not McAdams’s only job aboard Kearsarge.
“During our recent maintenance availability, I was the sole liaison between the ship’s combat systems department and the civilian contractors working on our equipment,” said McAdams. “It was my responsibility to coordinate the efforts of both Navy and civilian personnel to make sure the work was getting done safely and quickly.”
As her department’s assistant maintenance and material management coordinator, enlisted surface warfare specialist subject matter expert and the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee’s vice president, McAdams contributes not only to the productivity of her department but also to Kearsarge’s command climate and the success of the crew.
McAdams’s accomplishments, skilled leadership and work ethic aboard Kearsarge led to her being selected as Sailor of the Quarter, 4th quarter 2020.
“I think it’s important for people like me to know that if there is something you want to do, it really isn’t too late,” said McAdams. “I joined the Navy at 31 because it was something I always wanted to do and the idea just wouldn’t leave me alone. If you have what-if’s in your life because you think you’re too old for something, you’re probably not and should go out and do it anyways.”
McAdams reenlisted for six more years and plans on utilizing tuition assistance to finish her degree once she transfers from Kearsarge in March 2021.
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