February 25 – SAN DIEGO – Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronny Tucker, a native of Leesburg, serves in the US Navy aboard one of the country’s most versatile combat ships, the USS Jackson, which operates out of San Diego.
Tucker, a 2018 graduate of Lee County High School, joined the Navy five years ago.
“I joined the Navy to be around people who make me better and educate me every day,” he said.
The skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those learned in Leesburg, Tucker said.
“I’ve learned that it’s very important to be true to your word and to be a dependable, trustworthy person,” he noted. “It is important to be a trustworthy and dependable seaman in the Navy and to have the trust and respect of your fellow sailors and your leadership when deployed at sea.”
Jackson is an Independence-variant coastal combatant, a fast, heavily manned, mission-tailored surface combatant that operates in both coastal and open-ocean environments and, according to naval officials, is winning against the coastal threats of the 21st century. Coastal combatants integrate into joint, combined, manned and unmanned teams to support global presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence missions.
Coastal combatants are hybrid surface combatants that lead manned and unmanned teams using unmanned air systems such as the Fire Scout and the Expeditionary Ordnance Disposal Forces’ unmanned underwater vehicles. They conduct forward and maritime security missions such as the Department of Defense’s Oceania Maritime Security Initiative. The vessels also strengthen partnerships through port visits in small island nations such as Tahiti and Fiji due to their shallow depth.
According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is unique and challenging. The culmination of their 18-month training pipeline, sailors qualify on a virtual reality simulator that is nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training pipeline enables seafarers to assume their roles and responsibilities immediately upon boarding the ship.
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“With the streamlined crewing aboard our ships, each and every LCS sailor must be versatile, adaptable and highly competent in the diverse roles they perform,” said Capt. Marc Crawford, commodore of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE. “Our Sailors never cease to amaze me with their tireless dedication and technical expertise; it is a privilege to serve alongside them.”
With 90% of global trade traveling by sea and access to the Internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly related to educated seafarers and a strong Navy.
“Our mission remains timeless — to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very finest Navy: fully combat-ready at all times, focused on excellence in warfare, and committed to superior leadership at every level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, said. “This is our calling. And I can think of no worthier calling.”
As a member of the Navy, Tucker is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, enhancing competitive combat capabilities, and maintaining combat-ready forces in support of the national defense strategy.
“The Navy’s forward presence is important to deter advertising and maintain an offensive position,” Tucker said.
Tucker has many opportunities to achieve success during military service.
“I’m proud that I was able to change my job from gunner’s mate to paramedic,” he said.
As Tucker and other Sailors continue to serve missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy and being a seaman means being proud,” said the Leesburg native. “I can serve my country and belong to something bigger than myself.”
Tucker said he was grateful to others for helping facilitate a Navy career.
“I was lucky enough to meet my wife in the Navy,” he said. “She’s been an amazing support system for me.”