Millington, Tenn. (KINY) - Airman Joel Kim, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, participated in a cake-cutting ceremony for the 10th anniversary of USS Anchorage’s commissioning on May 7.
Kim, who is currently the only sailor serving aboard Anchorage from Anchorge, Alaska, was one of the speakers for the ceremony.
“I think it’s really cool to have been sent from Anchorage, Alaska, to the USS Anchorage,” said Kim. “I was really nervous when I first arrived, but everyone I met has been kind to me and helped me understand what it’s like to be in the Navy. We’re a family taking care of each other on this ship. I’m very thankful to be part of air department and the Anchorage family.”
Kim graduated from A.J. Dimond High School in 2017 and joined the Navy two years ago.
"I joined the Navy during the early 2021 COVID-19 pandemic, due to the need for school support," said Kim. "I also remembered that my great-grandfather was part of the Korean military and I wanted to do the same and honor my family."
Skills and values similar to those found in Anchorage are similar to those required to succeed in the military.
"While coming from a religious family, my father always tells me to keep my connection with God even while away from home," said Kim. "Everyday I pray to God when I eat and sleep, including asking my father to send me weekly verses to keep the connection. My mental strength is never going to falter as long as my connection stays true."
Today, Kim serves an aviation boatswain's mate (fuel) responsible for preparing and fueling Navy planes prior to launch and after landing, as well as pumping fuel to all areas of the ship.
"My favorite part about my job is getting to experience to work with all different types of helicopters and have the full flight operation experience," said Kim.
Operating out of San Diego, California, USS Anchorage was commissioned on May 4, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska, and is the second ship of the United States Navy to be named after Anchorage.
Anchorage is a San Antonio-class amphibous transport dock designed to deliver Marines and their equipment wherever they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts, according to Navy officials.
With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.
"Our mission remains timeless - to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level," said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. "This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy."
As a member of the Navy, Kim is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.
"The Navy contributes by letting those who are allied with us he assurance that they are on our side and we can show all adversaries that we are here to protect," said Kim.
Kim and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
"My proudest accomplishment in the Navy was to become the only person on board USS Anchorage to come from Anchorage, Alaska, and to have the honor to give my remarks during the 10-year anniversary," said Kim.
As Kim 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 means to be a part of a huge team and help protect our country from all threats that would put harm to our friends and family," added Kim.