By Megan Brown
Jackson Advocate Guest Writer
Seaman Jaylan Lilley, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, is one of nearly 80 sailors who celebrated America’s 246 years of independence while serving aboard USS Constitution.
Lilley, a 2018 Lanier High School graduate, joined the Navy one year ago.
Today, Lilley serves as a personnel specialist.
“I joined the Navy because it was my dream job and for the benefits it provides,” said Lilley. “Every since I was a kid, I wanted to be a police officer, but I decided to join the military after high school instead.”
Skills and values similar to those found in Jackson are important to succeed in the military.
“I learned in my hometown to never be afraid and to always ask questions,” said Lilley. “You can’t be afraid of anyone in the Navy. Regardless of their rank, I am always going to ask questions so I can learn.”
USS Constitution is the U.S. Navy’s oldest commissioned warship, and the crew is hand-picked to promote naval history and maritime heritage while raising awareness of the importance of a sustained naval presence.
The ship earned the nickname Old Ironsides during the War of 1812 after British cannonballs were seen bouncing off the ship’s wooden hull. USS Constitution was undefeated in battle and captured or destroyed 33 enemy vessels.
With 90 percent 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 trained sailors and a strong Navy.
“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 single level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”
As a member of the Navy, Lilley is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive war-fighting capabilities, and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy protects freedom of the seas,” said Lilley. “The Constitution’s mission was to protect freedom of trade, and now, we are still doing those same missions today.”
As Lilley and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Being in the Navy means a lot to me because I am following in my family’s footsteps of military service,” said Lilley.
Lilley is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.
“I want to thank my family for persuading me to join the Navy,” added Lilley.