By Stephanie Fox*
ATLANTIC OCEAN – Seaman Beauty McGowan, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, was recently named Blue Jacket of the Quarter aboard USS Iwo Jima.
The Blue Jacket of the Quarter award is one of several quarterly categories used to recognize high-performing sailors who stand out from others in similar pay grades.
Seaman Beauty McGowan is a 2009 Lagos State Model College Kankon graduate and a 2015 Ladoke Akintola University of Technology graduate. Today, McGowan serves as a culinary specialist.
“As a culinary specialist, we feed the crew,” said McGowan. “I see it as a way of meeting people’s satisfaction and relieving them of hunger-driven stress.”
McGowan joined the Navy six months ago for the opportunities the military offers.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted a better life,” said McGowan. “I wanted financial viability and to be able to go to medical school.”
According to McGowan, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Lagos.
“Growing up, I learned the importance of determination, endurance and perseverance,” McGowan said. “Those skills are currently helping me in the fleet.”
Iwo Jima is the seventh Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and the second ship in the U.S. Navy to bear that name. The ship was named for the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II.
According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities and capacity.
“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers, McGowan is most proud of contributing to the team.
“The accomplishment I am most proud of is earning Blue Jacket of the Quarter,” said McGowan.
“Our sailors remain the true source of our naval power,” said Gilday. “Mission one for every sailor remains a ready Navy, a Navy ready to compete today and a Navy ready to compete tomorrow. Together we will deliver the naval power the nation needs.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, McGowan, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a tradition providing the Navy the nation needs.
“To me, serving in the Navy gives me pride and a sense of belonging,” added McGowan.