Ensign Hazel Acosta, a sailor from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, serves in Japan aboard a forward-deployed U.S. Navy warship.
Acosta joined the Navy two years ago. Today, Acosta serves as a main propulsion officer aboard USS Dewey.
“I joined the Navy to become a better leader and also to travel the world and make a difference in sailors’ lives,” said Acosta.
Growing up in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, Acosta attended St. Croix Central High School and graduated in 2016.
Today, Acosta relies upon skills and values similar to those found in St. Croix to succeed in the military.
“Growing up, I learned that we can basically do it all,” said Acosta. “As long as you put your mind to it, you can achieve it. Pursue any dream that you have.”
Modern U.S. Navy surface ships provide a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments.
A Navy surface ship is capable of operating independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups or expeditionary strike groups.
Jobs aboard a U.S. Navy ship are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill, according to Navy officials. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry, along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times.
As a member of the Navy, Acosta 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 is important to national defense because of our presence,” said Acosta. “Our presence is the most important in ensuring that we have no disputes.”
Acosta serves in Japan as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces. These naval forces operate with allies and partners to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Service members in this region are part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which has the largest area of responsibility in the world.
“As the largest force in our nation’s front line against revisionist actors, U.S. Pacific Fleet meets this great responsibility with strength, resolve and confidence,” said Adm. Samuel Paparo, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander. “Together with our joint and combined partner operations, we are positioned to defend – across all domains – any attempts to threaten our nation, our allies and partner’s security, freedom and well-being.”
Acosta and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“I am proud of being able to see my impact in sailors’ lives,” said Acosta.
As Acosta 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 making a difference, being a leader, and also adjusting to whatever life brings to us,” said Acosta. “We have to be sure that we are always ready no matter what comes up.”
Acosta is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.
“I would like to thank Major Fernando Webster,” added Acosta. “He was my Army Junior ROTC leader in high school. He took me in and taught me discipline and inspired me to serve. All of my cousins were also in the military in the Philippines.”