A Poughkeepsie, New York, native serves at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville located in Jacksonville, Florida.
Airman Gavin Kerr joined the Navy one year ago.
“I wanted to be part of a team and serve my country,” said Kerr. “I also have family in the military. My grandfather served in the Marine Corps, and I have an uncle who served in the Navy.”
Growing up in Poughkeepsie, Kerr attended Spackenkill High School and graduated in 2020. Today, Kerr finds the values in Poughkeepsie similar to those needed to succeed in the military.
“It takes everyone working as a team to be successful,” said Kerr.
These lessons have helped Kerr while serving at NAS Jacksonville.
On Oct. 15, 1940, NAS Jacksonville was officially commissioned, and became the first part of the Jacksonville Navy complex that would also include NAS Cecil Field and Naval Station Mayport.
According to Navy officials, the mission of NAS Jacksonville is to enable warfighter readiness focused directly on support of operational units aboard the base and throughout the fleet.
NAS Jacksonville consists of more than 100 tenant commands and is one of the largest employers in the area. It contributes to the growth and prosperity of Northeast Florida with an economic impact of more than $2 billion annually.
Serving in the Navy means Kerr 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.
“The Navy is a show of force that keeps us safe at home,” said Kerr. “We’re part of a greater fighting force.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities, and capacity.
“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
There are many accomplishments that come with military service, and Kerr is most proud of graduating from the fire academy with a national certification.
“This required live fire training, learning rescue operations, hose operations and first aid,” said Kerr. “At 18, I felt like this was a pretty big deal.”
As Kerr and other sailors continue to train, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy means I get to give back to a country that gave me a lot of opportunities,” added Kerr.