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Two portraits of a re-enlistment aboard the USS Wisconsin (BB 64)

Two portraits of a re-enlistment aboard the USS Wisconsin (BB 64)

Story by Max Lonzanida on 01/27/2019

Submitted article by Emma Hummer, HR Naval Museum Intern, with editing by Max Lonzanida, HR Naval Museum Public Affairs Officer.

For centuries service men and women have answered the call of duty in national defense. Nothing so solemnly affirms one’s commitment to that duty better than the enlistment oath.This is according to the U.S Navy’s Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) 1160-20. But aside from that, why settle for a re-enlistment ceremony in an office cubicle or a hangar bay; when you can re-enlist on a battleship? And event better, why not two touching re-enlistments in one day aboard the iconic USS Wisconsin (BB 64). This was the case on the last chilly Friday afternoon in January, where the iconic turret #1 was the picturesque backdrop for two military ceremonies hosted by the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.

At 1300, IS1(AW/SW/IW) Andrew Guardo, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eleven (HSC-11) crossed the gangway to the ship, and had the touching opportunity to re-enlist amongst his friends, family and fiance. Originally from Houston, Texas, Guardo was drawn to the military through having family members serve in the military but he also experienced his own fascination with it. He shares, “I chose the military because it was something I always wanted to do, I also like planes so being able to work around and with [them] it pretty cool”. In the future Guardo is looking forward to “going back to shore and hopefully Europe”, during his next enlistment. Guardo noted that he is most excited about marrying his fiance, Janelle Nunez. Guardo shares that they are trying to tie the knot “sometime this year before I actually change duty stations”.

Like clockwork, at 1400 sharp, IT2(IW/SW) Ashely Sparks, assigned to the Naval Information Warfare Training Center in Virginia Beach, crossed the gangway onto the ship for her re-enlistment. Sparks, originally from Winter Haven, Florida, decided to join the military nine years ago. When asked what propelled her to want to enlist she said, “I originally joined because I needed a job and money for college and I wanted to travel”. Reflecting on her experience with the Navy thus far, Sparks shares that, “It has been pretty great, I enjoy it and I love working with everybody and meeting new people and seeing beautiful countries”. She enthusiastically shares that “Split, Croatia is my favorite place [because] it looks like an island but it is actually not an island”. The Navy also gave her a wonderful gift, the gateway to meeting her husband. Sparks met her husband, Chris, nine years ago in the Navy through their introductory school for intelligence specialists. They have been married for three years but they have been together ever since they first met. Overall she feels that, “It’s just great being in the Navy and it has changed me a lot and has added new characteristics in for the better”.

Guardo and Sparks both have something in common (other than the Navy), they both love the USS Wisconsin. Sparks chose to have her reenlistment ceremony aboard the Wisconsin because, “It is a great ship and it is a part of the community and I have been here many times already just to tour the ship and see the museum so I wanted it to be a part of my career”. Guardo chose the Wisconsin as his reenlistment venue because he has visited the ship and museum before and he felt that, “this is as close to history as I can get”. Bravo Zulu IS1(AW/SW/IW) Guajardo and IT2(IW/SW) Sparks on your re-enlistments!

About the Naval Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC)-Virginia Beach:

IWTC-Virginia Beach is one of four commands within the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), a learning center for Naval Education and Training Command. The command provides a continuum of information warfare training to Navy and joint service personnel that prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations. More information can be found at https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/centers/ciwt/IWTCvirginiabeach/Default.aspx

About Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eleven (HSC-11):

HSC-11, based at Naval Station Norfolk, executes Anti-Submarine Warfare, Personnel Recovery, and Special Operations Forces support with the utmost precision and lethality. The squadron provides unparalleled support to Carrier Air Wing One and Carrier Strike Group Eight. HSC-11 was established in June 1957 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Quonset Point, Rhode Island and first utilized the HSS-1 Seabat helicopter to complete their primary mission of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) utilizing the Seabat’s dipping sonar. In 2016, the squadron moved from Naval Air Station Jacksonville to Norfolk, and transitioned to the MH-60S Armed Helicopter. More information can be found at https://www.public.navy.mil/airfor/hsc11/Pages/Welcome Page.aspx

About the Hampton Roads Naval Museum:

The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is one of ten Navy museums that are operated by the Naval History & Heritage Command. It celebrates the long history of the U.S. Navy in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and is co-located with Nauticus in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. Admission to the museum is free, simply by-pass the ticket line and take the stairs or elevator to the museum on the second deck. The museum hosts a robust educational program for area schools and commands, with free educational programs to area schools aligned with state curriculum standards, a travelling sea chest program, a premier Lego outreach program, and historical presentations for area commands. To inquire, contact their Educational Director, Laura Orr at Laura.L.Orr@navy.mil or at (757) 322-3018. The museum is also host to a robust volunteer corps, who serve as docents, support special events, and assist in museum archives. To inquire, contact their Volunteer Coordinator, Darcy Sink at Darcy.Sink@navy.mil or at (757) 322-2992. Lastly the museum proudly hosts military ceremonies, such as re-enlistments, retirements, and promotions for area commands aboard the USS Wisconsin and in the museum’s gallery. To inquire, contact their special events coordinator, Tom Dandes at Thomas.Dandes@navy.mil or call (757) 322-3106. More information about the museum can be found at https://www.facebook.com/HRNavalMuseum/

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