Story by PO2 Charles Gaddis IV on 04/16/2018PACIFIC OCEAN Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Juan Carrillo assigned to the "Tophatters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, reenlisted for two years aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during Tailored Ship's Training Availability (TSTA) and Final Evaluation Problem (FEP), April 13.
Carrillo, born in Zacatecas, Mexico moved to Yuma, Arizona with his father at a young age. Carrillo wanted to get a job and education, travel and do something different than his younger years in Mexico.
"I moved to the U.S. when I was 15 years old, my dad decided to move to Arizona," said Carrillo. "I went to high school and completed two years of college with an Associate's Degree in Electronic Technician before I decided to join the Navy."
Carrillo has previously served at the "Rooks" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, the "Vigilantes" of Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 151, and the "Tophatters" of Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 14, with shore duty in between each squadron at Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro.
"First I stayed in the Navy to enjoy shore duty because it was close to home and there's nothing on the civilian side that catches my attention," said Carrillo. "Everytime I needed to reenlist I was in a good squadron and I enjoyed it too much."
Carrillo's support comes from his family consisting of a wife and four kids.
"My family is proud of me staying in the Navy, they enjoy traveling," said Carrillo. "I wouldn't have stayed in this long if they didn't enjoy it and support me."
After completing 20 years of active-duty service in the Navy, Sailors can retire and receive their retirement pay and benefits.
"I ask myself plenty of times why keep serving after 20 years," said Carrillo. "The answer is I'm a naval aviation mechanic and I wouldn't change it for anything else. Why leave what I really enjoy."
TSTA/FEP is an evaluation of the ship's and embarked air wing's ability to defend the ship, respond to damage control scenarios, and complete carrier qualifications. The embarked air wing is also "kicking the dust off" their flight operations and integrating with the ship.
VFA 14 is part of Carrier Air Group NINE and currently embarked aboard JCS as part of Carrier Strike Group THREE conducting training and preparing for the upcoming deployment.
"When you bring a squadron to the ship it feels like all the hard work you are doing pays off," said Carrillo. "You can see the full team not just the squadron accomplishing their mission."
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