Smyrna area graduate of Stewarts Creek High School serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Boxer

Sep 12, 2022 at 02:27 pm by Voice Wire


(SMYRNA, TN) Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Eldridge, a 2018 Stewarts Creek High School graduate, joined the Navy four years ago. “I was originally going to college for nursing,” said Eldridge. “A Navy recruiter visited my high school and I was energized to join as a corpsman. I am the first female in my family to join the military.”

Today, Eldridge serves as a hospital corpsman. Eldridge is responsible for training emergency medicine and maintaining the medical supply office. Corpsman also handle the sick call for the ship which allows Eldridge to pursue one of a passions of helping others who may have mental health needs.

Eldridge relies upon skills and values from lessons learned in Nashville to succeed in the military. “My parents instilled in me to have compassion for others,” said Eldridge. “My mom was a single mom and she worked very hard to support my family. My dad was also a hard worker. They both were an inspiration.”

Boxer, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, commissioned Feb. 11, 1995, and is the sixth U.S. ship to bear the name. The ship recently completed a scheduled maintenance availability and is preparing for upcoming operations. 

Boxer’s crew is made up of approximately 1,200 officers and enlisted personnel and can accommodate up to 1,800 Marines. Amphibious assault ships transfer Marines, equipment and supplies and can support helicopters or other aircraft, according to Navy officials. They also are capable of accessing 75 percent of the world’s beaches.
 
Serving in the Navy means Eldridge is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy. “The Navy provides freedom of the seas and safe navigation for commerce,” said Eldridge.

More than 90 percent of all trade travels by sea, and fiber optic cables on the ocean floor carry 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic. Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to ready sailors and a strong Navy.

“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The U.S. Navy – forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power – deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”

“The Surface Force will continue to meet the challenge of strategic competition and respond to the realities of the modern security environment,” said Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener. “ Our efforts are critical to preserve freedom of the seas, deter aggression and win wars.”

Sailors like Eldridge have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service. “My proudest moment in the Navy was winning Blue Jacket of the Quarter, which is recognition of my hard work from the senior leadership on the ship,” said Eldridge. 

As Eldridge and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy. “Serving in the Navy is a way for me to help protect our way of life,” added Eldridge. "I get to serve others. I truly like being with the ship's company and the way we have come together as a family.”


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