Canton native serves at U.S. Navy helicopter squadron in Japan

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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Hanchar Navy Office of Community Outreach

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Hanchar

Navy Office of Community Outreach

Petty Officer 3rd Class Elijiah Smith, a native of Canton, Mississippi, serves in the U.S. Navy as a member of a helicopter squadron forward deployed to Japan.

Smith graduated from Canton High School in 2022.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Canton.

“I learned from a very young age the power of respect and discipline,” said Smith. “I learned that hard work pays off.”

Smith joined the Navy two years ago. Today, Smith serves as an aircrew survival equipment man.

“I joined the Navy to become a successful independent man,” said Smith. “The benefits the Navy provided, including travel, education, and health insurance, were very attractive.”

Members of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 77 fly and maintain helicopters for the U.S. Navy. Navy helicopters are able to perform many different missions. Some of the most common operations include search and rescue, air assaults, medical evacuations, supply transport, and hunting submarines.

With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to recruiting and retaining talented people from across the rich fabric of America.

Smith serves in Japan as part of the forward-deployed naval forces. These naval forces operate with allies and partners to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Service members in this region are part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which has the largest area of responsibility in the world.

“We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day,” said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations. “Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.”

Smith has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I am most proud to say that I made the decision to join and start my life in a positive way,” said Smith. “I am also very proud of the rate I was able to join and all of the skills I have learned so far.”

Smith can take pride in serving America through military service.

“Serving in the military gives me the opportunity to help those across the globe while also protecting and defending my family back at home,” said Smith.

Smith is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank my parents and brother for always being there for me,” added Smith. “I would also like to thank my command leadership for helping me be such a successful sailor so early on.”

“If anyone wants to travel and see the world, learn about different cultures and see people from different walks of life the Navy is the opportunity for you,” added Smith.

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Canton native serves at U.S. Navy helicopter squadron in Japan

By Jackson Advocate News Service
June 10, 2024