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VIEWPOINT: Cicero native welcomes challenges of serving in U.S. Navy

By Megan Brown


Joseph Rolfe

A Cicero native is serving aboard USS Essex, a U.S. Navy Wasp-Class amphibious-assault ship.

Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Rolfe is a 1998 Cicero-North Syracuse High School graduate and a 2001 Onondaga Community College graduate. Today, Rolfe serves as a mass-communication specialist responsible for television, radio production, and photography services. 

Rolfe says he joined the Navy for financial stability and to see the world. 

According to Rolfe, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Cicero.

“I learned that it’s a small world and people are people,” said Rolfe. 

Homeported in San Diego, California, USS Essex is the second ship in the Wasp-class of multipurpose amphibious-assault ships and the fifth ship named for Essex County, Massachusetts. Essex was a 1,000-ton ironclad river gunboat of the U.S. Army and later U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. 

According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are 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 air-cushioned landing craft, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

“I like getting to meet new people and blue water operations,” said Rolfe.

Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community, and careers, Rolfe is most proud of four accomplishments. 

“I am proud of my marriage and the births of my son and daughter,” he said. “As well as, enlisting and having a successful career.” 

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Rolfe, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs, and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.

“Serving in the Navy means providing for my family and country,” added Rolfe. “It is service with challenges.”  

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