OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Petty Officer 1st Class Jasmine Gilmer, a native of Valencia, California, joined the Navy for the opportunity to experience the lifestyle.
Now, eight years after joining the Navy, Gilmer serves with the “Vikings” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, working with the Navy’s premier electronic attack aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
“The camaraderie here is the best of any command I've served at in the Navy,” said Gilmer.
Gilmer, a 1998 graduate of Valencia High School, is a cryptological technician with Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, a high-tech electronic attack squadron capable of altering the outcome of any engagement with the EA-18G “Growler.”
“In my job, I am responsible for collecting and reading information,” said Gilmer.
Gilmer credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Valencia.
“Growing up in my hometown I learned to be a leader,” said Gilmer. "I had a dance coach who held me to a higher standard and because of her, I learned the importance of leadership."
Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129's primary mission is to train sailors to conduct airborne electronic warfare while embarked with a carrier air wing. They will deploy with aircraft carriers to project electronic attack dominance anywhere in the world at any time. This includes suppression of enemy radar systems, sensor jamming and electronic protection.
The EA-18G “Growler” is the most advanced airborne electronic attack (AEA) platform in production today, according to Navy officials. The Navy invests in advanced “Growler” capabilities to ensure it continues to protect all strike aircraft during high-threat missions for decades to come.
“The detachments are always new locations and new people,” said Gilmer. "We work hard and play hard, but it's a lot of fun."
Serving in the Navy means Gilmer 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, Gilmer is most proud of her daughter.
“The Navy has helped me provide for my daughter financially and to have the support of my friends I serve with,” said Gilmer.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Gilmer and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving makes me proud of myself,” said Gilmer. "I can backup my accomplishments. It may be difficult, but I can look back and say I did it."