Women's History Month: FLTCM April Beldo, CMDCM Jean Heitzman, LSC Latonya Starks, OS1 Jennifer Galvez and YN2 Tyquesha Hewitt
Navy leaders and pioneers
OS1 Jennifer Galvez
Q: Why did I decide to join/serve the Navy?
A: I had always been interested in joining the military; I was just not sure what branch.
One of my high school friends ended up introducing me to a Navy recruiter and the rest is history. I knew that I wanted to pursue a higher education but I did not have the means nor did I know what career path I was taking. So, instead of working minimum wage jobs and possibly getting in trouble the choice really made itself.
Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped guide you?
A: My mentor from my last ship, SCCM Harrell, was one that stood out to me the most. He taught me patience, professionalism, and how to learn from the bad.
Q: Please tell us a story about someone, perhaps in your family or otherwise, who has influenced you or challenged you to become more than you ever thought you might.
A: Growing up I really didn't have a positive role model in my life.
My mother was always gone at work and my stepfather was not much of a role model. I had to challenge myself and know that I could accomplish whatever it is that I set my mind to. I wanted to prove to my five siblings that we are all capable to succeed regardless of our situation. In a way, they challenged me. I would hate for them to see me fail or throw my hands up and give up on anything.
Q: Please tell us which past assignments are the most memorable and why?
A: I have to say the most memorable assignment in my naval career thus far is definitely my first assignment.
I received orders to NEGB (Naval Expeditionary Guard Battalion) to be a guard at the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Straight out of high school, that was the last place I would have ever thought I would end up. My days were very unpredictable there. Any given day could be any given situation. It could be a simple day of eight hours of walking rounds and then heading to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, or the day could take an instant turn with detainees acting out and screaming for no reason and having to do force cell extractions. Those days may mean 15 hours or more. It was incredible to think of the responsibilities I had with being home and in high school just the year before.
Q: What does being a leader in the Navy mean to you?
A: Being a leader in the Navy can be tough.
A leader has to find a balance between working for the chain of command to get things done correct, precise, and in a timely manner and taking care of those personnel appointed under them. A leader cannot be narrow-minded and should do their very best to interpret the situations of their sailors to make well thought out decisions. A leader should imitate what they profess.