NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- As America’s premier maritime fighting force, the United States Navy is tasked with defending freedom and democracy around the world. As the seagoing branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Navy fills a unique and crucial need in service to the country.
To that end, some citizens of the United States have felt the call to serve their nation and now carry themselves as proud Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
One such Sailor is Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Sam Barnaby, a system administrator aboard George Washington.
“My grandfather was in the Navy, and my uncles still are,” said Barnaby. “Growing up with that kind of patriotism and service in my family made me want to know what it was like to serve the nation I loved.”
On July 17, 2017, Barnaby left her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico to serve in America’s Navy.
“Leaving for the Navy was surreal,” said Barnaby. “To know that very soon I would know what it was like, the camaraderie and service I’d heard my family talk about all my life, it was insane.”
Barnaby would go on to boot camp, where she heard a creed she would learn to live by.
“When you’re in boot camp, you say the Sailor’s Creed and you think ‘This is what I plan to do,’” said Barnaby. “But now, in the fleet, the Sailor’s Creed is what you live, what you do every day.”
The patriotism that caused her to join also influences her day-to-day life.
“Out in town, people see me in my uniform and thank me,” said Barnaby. “It’s easy to think of the Navy as just a job, but seeing kids look at me in public with wonder reminds me of not just who I am, but what I represent, and I strive to carry myself as such.”
Like Barnaby, Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Lauren Wozniak, a personnel clerk aboard George Washington, also joined out of pride for her nation.
“I was very fortunate to grow up in the United States,” said Wozniak. “It meant everything to me, so when the opportunity arose, I knew I had to serve.”
Wozniak entered the Navy as an undesignated seaman, meaning she had no assigned job. However, Wozniak was not deterred by embarking on a career without knowing the path she would eventually take.
“My job every day was hard, routine work, like painting and cleaning,” said Wozniak. “Some people might not like that, but the bigger picture is that all the hard work adds up to making sure the ship is capable of serving the interests of our nation overseas. That’s the important part. That’s what matters.”
Now, she is a personnel specialist, and that same sense of justice and duty to her country carries on in her current work.
“Every day, I put on my uniform and am reminded what I stand for,” said Wozniak. “I go to work ready to help my shipmates and act with honor, courage, and commitment. I am a Sailor in the United States Navy, and I will gladly say that with pride to anyone who asks.”
For nearly two and a half centuries, proud Americans have answered the call to arms, and new generations will continue to do so long into the future. Each and every George Washington Sailor serves as a reminder of the testament of our nation and all it stands for, as a piece of the proud legacy of service, as the love and respect of our friends and allies, and as a threat to our enemies. From America’s first day until her last, Navy Sailors’ patriotism motivates them to join the armed forces to protect and serve these United States.
This story is part of The Washington Surveyor’s new series “Why I Joined,” which looks at common reasons our Sailors joined the Navy. Check back later for the next in the series: education!
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.