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Erick Broadnax serves aboard U.S. Navy floating airport in Japan

Petty Officer 2nd Class Erick Broadnax, a native of Covington, Georgia, serves in Japan aboard the self-contained mobile airport and the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan.

Equipped with a full flight deck and more than 60 aircraft including attack fighter jets and helicopters, aircraft carriers are one of the largest warships in the world.

Broadnax graduated from Newton High School in 2018.

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

“I learned a lot about leadership as captain of my high school basketball team,” Broadnax said. “Those lessons in being a good teammate translated here, into skills like how to take care of junior sailors.”

Broadnax joined the Navy five years ago. Today, Broadnax serves as an aviation boatswain's mate.

“I made the decision to join the Navy after a hoped-for basketball career didn't pan out,” Broadnax said. ”My dad was in the Navy. He didn't talk about it a lot, but I saw how he lived and that he was pretty well taken care of.”

Aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of America’s Naval forces. For more than 100 years, they have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.

According to Navy officials, aircraft carriers are versatile and have unique mission capabilities that make them a more strategic asset for the Navy than fixed-site bases. They are often the first response in a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans. In addition, no other weapon system can deploy and operate forward with a full-sized aircraft carrier’s speed, endurance, agility and combat capability of its air wing.

With 90 percent 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.

Broadnax 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.

“We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day,” said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations. “Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.”

Broadnax has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“During my first tour, I made it to the rank of E5 in just four years and was named a command sailor of the year,” Broadnax said.

Broadnax takes pride in serving America through military service.

“Serving has given me more of a sense of purpose and greater drive,” Broadnax said. “I'd like to get commissioned and really set myself up for success, whether it's career success or in my personal life.”

Broadnax is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I'd like to thank Navy Senior Chief Raul Rodriguez, who's been a positive influence in my career,” Broadnax said. “I saw how he carried himself, and after taking his financial literacy class, I bought three properties and learned about passive income. Now I'm spreading that knowledge to my fellow sailors.

“I'm hoping to own about 10 properties and get my real estate license for when I retire.”