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Hollywood Native: Serves Aboard USS Essex

By Stephanie Fox, Navy Office of Community Outreach

January 27, 2022

A Hollywood, Florida, native is serving aboard USS Essex, a U.S. Navy Wasp class amphibious assault ship. Airman Malyck Strachan serves as an aviation boatswain’s mate (fuel).

Aviation boatswain's mate (fuel) sailors are responsible for preparing and fueling Navy planes prior to launch and after landing, as well as pumping fuel to all areas of the ship.

“I enjoy the challenge of being an aviation boatswain’s mate (fuel),” said Strachan. “Jumping into the aviation boatswain’s mate (fuel) lifestyle right after leaving bootcamp can be overwhelming at first and the stress of the job can be intimidating, but over time it becomes a breeze.”

Strachan joined the Navy to serve the country.

“I initially joined the Navy for the benefits the military has to offer,” said Strachan. “As time went on, however, I realized I could gain so much more. I realized that I had gained a second family, I had gained maturity and I had gained discipline.”

According to Strachan, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Hollywood.

"A phrase that helped me during tough times is, ‘If they can do it then so can you,’" said Strachan. “When all of your peers seem to be doing things that you think would be impossible for you to accomplish, think about that phrase and believe in yourself.”

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 1000-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 Landing Craft Air Cushioned, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

Serving in the Navy means Strachan is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy contributes to national defense by intimidating those who do harm to the innocent,” said Strachan. “We show them that we are not ones to stand by idly in the face of injustice. Wherever the fight is, expect the Navy to be there.”

There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers while serving in the Navy.

"My proudest Navy accomplishment so far is completing a full deployment in my first year as an active duty sailor," said Strachan. “I look forward to many more deployments and much greater accomplishments in the future.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Strachan, 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.

"To me, serving in the Navy means that I have overcome hardships that life has thrown at me and that I can continue to do so," added Strachan. “As long as I believe and trust in myself and my Navy family, we can do anything.”

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