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Cicero native patrols seas from the air for U.S. Navy

By DUSTIN GOOD

Date:

Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicole Rodriguez, a native of Cicero, working with the Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft at the Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island, Washington. (PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 3RD CLASS EMILIA HILLIARD/ U.S. NAVY)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicole Rodriguez, a native of Cicero, joined the Navy for the benefits provided and the opportunity to experience new aspects of life.

Now, three and a half years later, Rodriguez serves as a logistics specialist with “The Golden Swordsmen” of Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Squadron (VP) 47, working with the Navy’s cutting-edge maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

“The people are what makes this command special,” said Rodriguez. “The people are easy to get along with and work with and make the work days go by faster and better.”

Rodriguez, a 2006 graduate of Cicero-North Syracuse High School, serves with VP-47, a high-tech maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadron tasked with monitoring the world’s oceans in the state-of-the-art P-8A “Poseidon.”

Rodriguez is also currently enrolled at Arizona State University, pursuing a degree in nutrition.

“I’m responsible for ordering and tracking supplies for Naval aircraft,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Cicero.

“My parents taught me the importance of working hard and always giving everything you have,” she said. “I am a very take charge person and make sure things get done and done correctly, so I use that lesson daily in the Navy.”

VP-47’s primary mission is to conduct maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence gathering missions. The squadron deploys around the world to monitor the world’s oceans wherever they are needed.

The P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, is a replacement aircraft for the legacy P-3C “Orion”. According to Navy officials, leveraging the experience and technology of the successful P-3C “Orion” with the needs of the fleet, the P-8A is designed to be combat-capable, and to improve an operator’s ability to efficiently conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

As the Navy transitions to the full capacity with the P-8A “Poseidon”, the aircraft continues the work-horse tradition established by the P-3C “Orion”. The P-8A has a planned state-of-the-art open architecture mission system and next-generation sensors. These capabilities give warfighters added protection. The aircraft empowers the fleet with more combat capability, responsiveness, and interoperability with traditional manned forces and evolving unmanned sensors. The P-8A “Poseidon” has significant growth potential, with planned, phased-in technological improvements that extend global reach, payload capacity, and higher-operating altitude.

“The travel is pretty cool working with this command,” said Rodriguez. “We aren’t on a ship, but we still get to see some pretty awesome places.”

Serving in the Navy means Rodriguez 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.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Rodriguez is most proud of earning “Sailor of the Year” honors.

“It took working well above my pay grade,” said Rodriguez. “I cleaned up the programs that I took over and I am using those skills now that I am at this command.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Rodriguez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy is like having any other job, but you know that what you are doing will provide defense and security for the country,” said Rodriguez.      

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