Petty Officer 1st Class Junie Delacruz-Vukovich, a native of Garden Grove, California, serves the U.S. Navy with Mine Division TWELVE operating out of San Diego, California.
Delacruz-Vukovich joined the Navy eight years ago. Today, Delacruz-Vukovich serves as a damage controlman.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted to further my education,” said Delacruz-Vukovich. “I am the first generation in my family to attend school in the U.S. We’re originally from the Philippeans. Originally, I was just planning on joining to have school paid for, but I ended up staying because I liked it so much.”
Growing up in Garden Grove, Delacruz-Vukovich attended Rancho Alamitos High School and graduated in 2010. Today, Delacruz-Vukovich uses the same skills and values learned in Garden Grove to succeed in the military.
“I grew up in a very diverse town,” said Delacruz-Vukovich. “That has helped me since joining the Navy because I serve with people from all over the world. I knew coming into service that there would be things to learn from everyone around me because we all had different backgrounds. Also, I learned that no matter where you come from you can achieve your goals if you put in the work.”
California has thirty-two military bases within its borders, which is more than any other state. According to Navy officials, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps’ bases are clustered most heavily around San Diego.
Serving in the Navy means Delacruz-Vukovich 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 contributes to national security by keeping order at sea,” said Delacruz-Vukovich. “We also keep other countries safe that aren’t able to fend off threats on their own.”
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.”
Delacruz-Vukovich and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“I have a lot of accomplishments I am proud of, but my greatest achievement is watching my junior sailors move up the ladder and accomplish their own goals,” said Delacruz-Vukovich. “I get to share in every one of their accomplishments.”
As Delacruz-Vukovich and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“To me, serving in the Navy means that I get to be a part of something big,” added Delacruz-Vukovich. “Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a part of something extraordinary. You always hear about people wanting to be a doctor or a scientist. I get to be a sailor that helps my family, and helps others around the country and the world. I get to set an example for other sailors and that makes me so proud. The comradery is hard to find anywhere else, but we have that in the Navy.”