From North Division to Yokosuka: Navy sailor credits growing up in Milwaukee
A Milwaukee native and 2009 North Division High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Elvaughn Riley is an aviation maintenance administrationman aboard the aboard the aircraft carrier operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. A Navy aviation maintenance administrationman is responsible for preparing aircraft and maintenance related correspondence.
Riley is proud to serve in the Pacific and fondly recalls memories of Milwaukee.
“Growing up in Milwaukee I was taught to never forget where you came from,” said Riley. “Every time you make an achievement remember what pushed you to make the next achievement.”
Moments like that makes it worth serving around the world ready at all times to defend America’s interests. With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
Named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet. The ship, a true floating city, weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 252 feet wide. Two nuclear reactors can push the ship through the water at more than 35 mph.
Powerful catapults slingshot the aircraft off the bow of the ship. The planes land aboard the carrier by snagging a steel cable with an arresting hook that protrudes from the rear of the aircraft.
“Being forward deployed feels special,” said Riley. “I feel my command is unique and very important.”
Riley is also proud of being made supervisor as a third class for the dedication shown to the ship’s mission.
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard the carrier. Approximately 3,200 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly – this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors.
Another 2,500 men and women form the air wing responsible for flying and maintaining more than 70 aircraft aboard the ship.
Ronald Reagan, like each of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, is designed for a 50-year service life. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Riley and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“The Navy has made me see things in a new light getting to travel and see the world and appreciate living more,” said Riley.
Seventh Fleet, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2018, spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South.
Seventh Fleet’s area of operation encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the 7th Fleet.