Petty Officer 3rd Class Jenna Dobson, a native of Livermore, Calif., was inspired to join the Navy for educational opportunities.
Now, two years later, Dobson serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.
“Every day you have new challenges,” Dobson said. “I've definitely learned a lot about myself, being away from home and having to build my own support system around me. It keeps you busy. It's a really good community.”
Dobson, a 2016 graduate of Granada High School, is a mass communication specialist aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.
“I take care of most of the graphic designs at work, which includes pamphlets, posters, and print jobs,” Dobson said. “I’m letting the ship know what's going on, and doing what I can to boost morale.”
Dobson credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Livermore.
“Growing up my dad used to tell me that slow is smooth, smooth is fast,” Dobson said. “Sometimes you need to take a step back and realize that not everything needs to get done right now.”
Essex is designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.
Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.
More than 1,000 men and women comprise the Essex crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.
“The Marines help us complete the mission at the end of the day,” said Dobson.
Serving in the Navy means Dobson is part of a world that is taking on renewed importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy has pushed me to become more open and more comfortable with myself. The nature of my job involves always talking to people, so that has really pushed me out of my comfort zone,” Dobson said. “In a way the Navy has helped me find myself.”