La Puente Native Takes Marines to the Fight aboard U.S. Navy Warship

SAN DIEGO –Petty Officer 1st Class Monalisa Escobedo, a native of La Puente, California, was inspired to join the Navy for travel opportunities. 

Now, 10 years later, Escobedo serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.

“This is my favorite command so far,” Escobedo said. “I was on a different ship before and this has been a better experience. I think the top leadership is great.”

Escobedo, a 2006 graduate of Santana High School in Rolling Heights, California, is a personnel specialist aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.

“I basically supervise pay and personnel matters for everybody on the ship,” said Escobedo.

Escobedo credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in La Puente.

“My mom and dad always told me that no matter what you have to do, keep going,” Escobedo said. “Not every day is going to be a great day, and not every day is going to be a bad day. Just push through.”

Essex is 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.

Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

Sailors' jobs are highly varied aboard Essex. More than 1,000 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.

Serving in the Navy means Escobedo is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Escobedo is most proud of earning the rank of first class petty officer.

“I studied really hard for the exam,” Escobedo said. “It took me three years.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Escobedo and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means courage,” Escobedo said. “The Navy is not for everyone.”

This story originally ran on Navy Outreach

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