It’s the best rate in the Navy
NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI – This week’s Sailor of the Week is Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Stephen Joshua Tucker.
Tucker comes to the Navy from Oklahoma City and has served as an aviation ordnanceman since joining the Navy in 2002.
“It’s the best rate in the Navy”, said Tucker. “There wouldn’t be a military without us.”
Tucker has taken part in the production and placement of projectiles for some time now. Having served for nearly 12 years, he said the assembly of ordnance is a simple project to undertake, not giving himself much credit for the actual time, effort and attention to detail that is required in his trade.
Tucker’s current title is leading petty officer within his command. His division deals with careful orchestration, delivery, and attachment of ordnance as well as maintaining a proper line of communication amongst the squadrons on base that need and receive these requests.
For many, the idea of being around explosives all day would be too much to handle. For Tucker however, it is just another day in the office. He claims the toughest part of his job is simply keeping everyone happy.
Tucker expresses the most interesting part of his job is being on the deck of a carrier, “There’s no other feeling like it, seeing the fighters go out fully loaded and come back slick with no ordinance lets me know we’re doing our job well.”
It’s no secret that working on the flight deck of a carrier is one of the most dangerous jobs in the Navy. One of his most memorable moments involved working on the flight deck amongst the chaos of a variety of planes taking off and landing all around him.
“You have to keep your head on a swivel” said Tucker, smiling as he recalls the experience.
Tucker has only been a part of his command in Atsugi for four months. His superiors have expressed that during this short time on board, his performance has been nothing shy of outstanding. Tucker has displayed an unparalleled level of knowledge and experience in aircraft armament equipment and plays a key role in managing the commands non-combat expenditure allowance.
Tucker was described by his division officer Chief Hester as “that ordananceman that only comes along once every few years, a man who inspires and motivates others to reach their potential and one who epitomizes the Navy Core Values.”
Hester noted Tucker’s performance in each assignment reflects his sound judgment, impeccable leadership, initiative and professional skill, “He stands out as a leader amongst his peers and demonstrates the unique ability to motivate others.”