top of page

Hollywood Native Serves His Country From Across The World

By Bryan Niegel, Navy Office of Community Outreach

March 28, 2024

Lieutenant Commander Erik Knebel, a native of Hollywood, Florida, recently participated in Exercise Keen Edge 2024 while serving the U.S. Navy in Japan. Knebel graduated from Cypress Bay High School in 2005.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Hollywood.

“Growing up in my hometown I learned to check any body of water for gators, portuguese man-of-war, or algae blooms before you jump in,” said Knebel.

Knebel joined the Navy 15 years ago. Today, Knebel serves as a Cryptologic Warfare Officer.

“I was heavily influenced by the tragedy and horror of 9/11,” said Knebel. “I initially wanted to join the Army, but Navy recruiting was more effective at the time.”

Keen Edge is a Bilateral Command Post Exercise conducted by the U.S. Military and Japan’s Self Defense Forces, with participation from the Australian Defence Force. The exercise ran from January 31st to February 7th and is the latest in a series of joint command post exercises designed to increase the integrated joint operational capability, refine command and control procedures and enhance cooperation between the participating nations.

“Our sailors benefit greatly from training opportunities such as Exercise Keen Edge to develop our skills, build relationships, and enhance our warfighting readiness,” said Captain Norman Beznoska, U.S. Forces Japan Navy Reserve Unit Commanding Officer. “As this exercise demonstrates, we can quickly augment the active-duty staff in Japan and support our counterparts in both day-to-day activities of the command and in times of crisis.”

With 90% 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 recruiting and retaining talented people from across the rich fabric of America.

Knebel serves a Navy that operates far forward, around the world and around the clock, promoting the nation’s prosperity and security.

“We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day,” said Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Chief of Naval Operations. “Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.”

Knebel has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“One of my proudest moments, since I joined, was one day while my ship was underway in the South China Sea we rescued three fishermen from the Philippines who had a breakdown and were near death due to lack of food and water,” said Knebel. “One of my best friends, Lieutenant Commander John Li was the one to spot them and made the decision to investigate the blinking light in the distance.”

Knebel can take pride in serving America through military service.

“I am personally proud of the role the United States Navy plays, not just in the defense of our nation, but also the role in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and protecting commerce for all nations from pirates,” said Knebel.

bottom of page