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Around The Fleet

Moving to the Music

Rhythm of Life

Chief Machinist's Mate Edwin Garcia has a rhythm that can't be heard on your local radio station or even heard from your television. He has it in his heart.

Born and raised in the small town of Miches in the Dominican Republic, Garcia saw the hardships of life first hand. However, he also saw those hardships lighten with the help of music and family. It was in those formidable years that he chose to continue to use music to shape the rest of his life and eventual career as a chief petty officer in the United States Navy.

"I remember when my mom was hand washing the laundry," Garcia said. "They always played the radio. They'd play the same songs and all the ladies in the house would sing it over and over and that song would get inside your head."

Although the Dominican Republic will always be home, Garcia knew he wanted more in life and that is what drove him to find success in the United States.

"I came to the states in 1992. That was the year Hurricane Andrew hit Florida. I thought my dad had everything set up for us: a nice house, food and everything, but the whole area had to be evacuated, and the day after the hurricane I got my first job."

Being new to the country and not being fluent in English, Garcia managed to work his way up every job he held. He thrived, but still knew he needed more.

"At my last job, I had a friend who kept talking about a guy named Stevens," said Garcia. "I asked who Stevens was and my friend said he was a lost cause, but he joined the Navy and now he is somebody. I asked for more information and how I could be more like Stevens. She told me to go to the recruiting station and that's what I did."

Even though he never got to meet Stevens, Garcia met someone far better. A recruiter that would start him on a new journey.

"Working wasn't going to cut it for me, so I had to move up and make something out of myself. I wanted to start a family, and in the military I thought it would be a good way to raise a family and get a steady pay check."

The military gave Garcia just that; a new career and a new opportunity, while also embracing the his Latin roots.

At Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, Chicago he learned he had leadership qualities despite the language barrier.

"When I got to my first division in boot camp, I didn't know how to communicate," said Garcia. "I walked into this new environment with Navy terminology and people yelling at me, but I got help and made it through."

After he graduated, and once finding his footing in the Navy, he began to think back to what helped him overcome hardships during his upbringing. He said he thought music and dance could help bring people together and possibly help in healing not only his hardships, but the hardships of others.

"When I was at my last duty station in Italy, there was a group of people of Hispanic descent," Garcia said. "I thought it would be good to bring everyone together, which I did through dance. We came together not as co workers, but as a community."