ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – Chief Petty Officer Delila Edwards, a native of Saint Petersburg, Florida, serves the U.S. Navy aboard one of the country’s most versatile combat ships.
Edwards joined the Navy 15 years ago. Today, Edwards serves as an information systems technician aboard USS Indianapolis based in Mayport, Florida.
“I joined the Navy to travel the world and experience something I never had before,” said Edwards.
Growing up in Saint Petersburg, Edwards attended Saint Petersburg High School and graduated in 2006. Today, Edwards finds the values in Saint Petersburg similar to those needed to succeed in the military.
“Growing up in my hometown, I learned the importance of adapting to my surroundings, especially in a different environment,” said Edwards.
These lessons have helped Edwards while serving in the Navy.
Designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines, and fast surface craft, the LCS sustainment strategy was developed to take into account the unique design and manning of LCS and its associated mission modules.
“Serving as the commanding officer of this ship is a great honor,” said Cmdr. Joseph Mitzen. “We’re all part of the USS Indianapolis legacy and being part of this crew is incredible. Meeting these 70 Americans, learning their story, knowing how they are continuing a proud legacy is inspiring.”
According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is a long one. Following an extensive training pipeline, sailors must qualify using state-of-the-art simulators that are nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training allows sailors to execute their roles and responsibilities immediately once they report aboard.
Serving in the Navy means Edwards is part of a world 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 security by being forward deployed ensuring that international waterways remain open because our presence is known,” said Edwards.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
Freedom-variant LCS have deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet, off the coasts of Central and South America, to support counter-narcotics operations and conduct exercises and exchanges with partner nations. The LCS’s shallow draft provides unparalleled opportunities for port access, making the ship an ideal vessel for these types of engagements.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities, and capacity.
“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
There are many accomplishments that come with military service, and Edwards is most proud of earning the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
“Making Chief was the proudest moment of my career,” said Edwards. “It’s such a large milestone that not everyone will be able to achieve. The brother and sisterhood is unmatched.”
As Edwards and other sailors continue to train, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy is a different lifestyle,” added Edwards. “The Navy has allowed me to see and experience so many different things.”
By Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach
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