PEARL HARBOR –A Bergenfield, New Jersey native and 2006 Bergenfield High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy in the same location that drew the United States into World War II.Petty Officer 2nd Class Somers Steelman, a mass communication specialist, is serving where U.S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters is located. According to Navy officials, the U.S. Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.
As a mass communication specialist, Steelman is responsible for telling the Navy's story to audiences in the Navy and to the rest of the world through a variety of media.
“The best part of this job is it allows me to get out and interact with all of the different sailors and service members,” said Steelman.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means that Steelman is serving in a part of the world that is taking on new importance in America’s national defense strategy.
“It’s important for those of us serving in Pearl Harbor today to remember the sacrifice of those who served before us,” said Admiral Scott Swift, Commander, U.S. Pacific fleet. “The important work we do everyday honors those who were here 75 years ago and is a testament to the enduring value of our Navy’s mission.”
Although the world has changed greatly in the past 75 years, the Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades, and for good reason, Navy officials say. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world's population, many of the world's largest and smallest economies, several of the world's largest militaries, and many U.S. allies.
“The best part of this command is they give space and freedom to grow and the location is great too,” said Steelman.
The Navy has plans, by 2020, to base approximately 60 percent of its ships and aircraft in the region. Officials say the Navy will also provide its most advanced warfighting platforms to the region, including missile defense-capable ships; submarines; reconnaissance aircraft; and its newest surface warfare ships, including all of the Navy’s new stealth destroyers.
“I am honored and proud that I chose to volunteer to serve in the Navy,” added Steelman.