Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Young-Oliveira Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anna-Liesa Hussey / Navy Office of Community Outreach

Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Young-Oliveira, hailing from Waldorf, Maryland, is currently serving aboard the USS Chung-Hoon, a formidable U.S. Navy warship stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Young-Oliveira, a 2019 North Point High School graduate, joined the Navy three years ago to kickstart his career.

“I joined the Navy because I needed a way to start a career. College wasn’t an option at that point in my life,” Young-Oliveira explained.

Drawing on the values instilled in him during his upbringing in Waldorf, Young-Oliveira attributes his success in the military to his parents’ teachings. “Growing up, my parents taught me that if I didn’t want to do something more than once, I needed to get it done right the first time. This is big in the Navy. Getting it done right the first time is the expectation,” he added.

The USS Chung-Hoon is a formidable guided-missile destroyer boasting diverse warfighting capabilities. It can operate independently or as part of a larger fleet at sea, equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns, and a phalanx close-in weapons system.

A crew of over 300 highly specialized sailors serves aboard the USS Chung-Hoon, diligently performing their duties that span from maintaining engines to handling weaponry, ensuring the ship’s constant mission readiness, as stated by Navy officials.

Underlining the significance of the Navy’s role in global commerce and communication security, Navy officials continually emphasize the importance of trained sailors and a robust Navy to safeguard the prosperity of the United States.

“Our mission remains timeless – to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every level,” asserted Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”

Young-Oliveira views his Navy service as essential to the nation’s strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities, and maintaining military readiness, aligning with the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy, along with our allies, supports national security by defending freedom, preserving economic prosperity, and keeping the seas open and free for countries worldwide,” Young-Oliveira remarked.

Dedicated to their responsibilities and missions, Young-Oliveira and his fellow sailors find numerous opportunities for accomplishments during their military service. One of his proudest achievements has been completing a deployment. He shared, “I never imagined myself in that environment, and what it would take to get there, so I’m proud of myself for persevering through it.”

In his commitment to serving the nation in the United States Navy, Young-Oliveira values the opportunities for personal growth and professional development the Navy offers. “Serving in the Navy means I can protect our nation. In return, the Navy trains me in a trade and offers free college. I’m here to build a career for myself. If I want to stay in, I have that option. However, if I don’t want to stay in, the Navy has given me the skills to continue building my career as a civilian,” he explained.

Young-Oliveira also expressed his gratitude to those who supported his journey into the Navy. “I’d like to thank my mom for supporting me, not only as a kid but also while I was transitioning into the Navy,” he said. “I also want to thank my dad for guiding me into the Navy because Lord knows he didn’t want me to join the Army. Lastly, I want to thank my wife for supporting me and pushing me to be better.”

As Young-Oliveira continues to serve on the USS Chung-Hoon, he epitomizes the dedication and commitment of the men and women who form the backbone of the U.S. Navy, safeguarding the nation’s interests at home and abroad. Their relentless efforts ensure that the United States remains a formidable force, secure in its alliances, and prepared to meet any challenges that may arise.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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