Women's History Month: Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer
Navy leaders and pioneers
Ens. Christina Hammervold is currently serving as Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit EIGHT, Rota, SP Officer In Charge.
Q: Why did you decide to join/serve the Navy?
A: I decided to join the Navy in order to give back to a country that has afforded me endless opportunity. In 2010, I was working with JPMorgan as a financial analyst, where I quickly learned that money could not buy happiness let alone provide the sense of self-worth and comfort only derived from being part of something bigger than myself.
Through much research and networking I found Navy EOD: a community comprised of hard working professionals who carry the attitude of giving one hundred percent effort in all they do, a group of people who want to "take the weight" in this volatile world. I immediately took action to plug myself into the Navy community.
I originally enlisted in the Navy in hopes of finding an inspiring, dynamic work environment. I was being challenged in my previous job but missed the physical aspect I was accustomed to through collegiate swimming. I have found that environment within EOD and have loved and learned from every part of the journey.
In 2014, I commissioned as an EOD officer through OCS and have thoroughly enjoyed the ever changing challenge of small unit leadership. I sought a commission in order to expound upon my skill set, increase my scope of responsibility, and give back to those who fight for our country with little reward. As I continue in my career, I hope to improve this community for those who will one day be in our shoes striving to do the same.
Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you?
A: There have been a myriad of mentors throughout every phase of my naval career. Retired NDC Robert Levine was instrumental in my entrance into Navy EOD. Levine was working out of Dallas Recruiting District and leading the Delayed Entry Program. He went beyond his scope of responsibility of administering monthly PST's (Physical Screening Tests) by offering challenging bi-weekly workouts for all SEAL, Diver, SAR, and EOD hopefuls. He introduced me to EOD by actively seeking out members within the Community to discuss what being an EOD technician entailed. Robert Levine's dedication to candidate success solidified my inclination towards joining the Navy in hopes of working with others like him.
1st SGT Clarke, an OCS instructor, pursued opportunities to get officer candidates out of their comfort zones. He led training with fairness and consistency and had a passion for turning out a product that he would want to follow. I valued my time under his instruction, and am a better leader today because of the lessons he instilled in our OCS class.
LT Antonio Gutierrez (Spanish Navy) was my lead class proctor through the Joint Diving Officer Course in Panama City, FL. His passion in providing the best product was highly motivating. To see someone, not even attached to our military, spend countless hours combing through the curriculum and create effective yet difficult workouts was astounding. He did everything in his power to ensure we received the training needed to excel and positively impact the diving community. His work ethic is unparalleled and respected by all who come in contact with him. LT Gutierrez continues to be an example to follow as I progress as an officer.
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: My parents have been encouraging and pivotal to my success. It's difficult to note a specific story or defining moment as both my mother and father have been by my side throughout my entire time in the Navy. Work ethic and a competitive drive were the defining characteristics my parents aimed to impart on their children. These qualities have enabled me to reach unexpected limits and continue to push me to always be moving forward.
Q: Please tell us which past assignments are the most memorable to you and why?
A: My time at Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) completing the Joint Diving Officer (JDO) course of instruction was highly memorable. The course was an excellent opportunity to refine supervisory skills, learn about diving from the officer scope of responsibility, and experience the rigorous challenge of peer leadership. I learned many valuable lessons about myself, the EOD and Diving communities, and what it takes to be a leader among peers. I will forever cherish the opportunity I had to work with the amazingly talented group of instructors and students.
Q: What does being a leader in the Navy mean to you?
A: Being a leader in the Navy means setting the example that you expect of your Sailors. Transparency, fairness, and consistency are vital to any great leader's success. Leadership is an ever evolving quality that even the most influential leaders seek to refine. If the well-being and growth of your Sailors are not the basis of your decision making, you're doing it wrong.