Sailor of the Week
NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan – Sailor of the week is a title granted to a different Sailor on board Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi once a week who has shown exemplary skill and work ethic within their shop and rate.
This week’s Sailor of the Week is Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Laticia Watson.
Watson was honored as the guest host of the base’s weekly show, Captain’s Call, with the Commanding Officer Captain Steven Wieman and Command Master Chief Carlton Duncan, during an on location filming at Watson’s command, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 14.
Watson is a native of Newark, N.J. and a 2006 graduate of Arts High School.
“I joined the navy for school, to finish my degree,” explained Watson. “And for traveling, I always wanted to come to Japan and got the opportunity through the Navy.”
After completing boot camp, Watson underwent training as an aviation electronics technician in Pensacola, Fla. followed by specialized training in her field at the Center Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit in Jacksonville, Fla.
Watson has been in the Navy for over three years and has served two years at her current command with HS-14 at NAF Atsugi.
“As an AT, an electronics technician, we basically just take care of all of the communication, navigation and mission systems of our aircraft,” said Watson.
“Her technical prowess proved instrumental in the troubleshooting and repairing of three Forward Looking Infrared Radar and Hellfire [missile] systems resulting in six successful Hellfire missile launches,” remarked Aviation Electrician’s Mate Senior Chief Clarence Burton, Watson’s division chief.
Watson has also undertaken several collateral duties on top of her daily work assignments. Watson works as the duty inspector for two different work center line shacks, a fuel cell safety observer, a backup safety observer for the fuel cell entrance and a radiation control supervisor.
“As a radiation control supervisor, she led ten personnel in scanning, recording and reducing fixed radiation on 10 aircraft,” explained Burton.
Watson’s work as a radiation control supervisor was of major importance during Operation Tomodachi, after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Various aircraft were exposed to radiation during their search, rescue and delivery missions when serving aide to people affected by the tsunami.
“As a supervisor I made sure we scanned down all the aircraft and got them safe for people to actually work on and for pilots to actually fly,” said Watson.
Watson’s dedication to her job has not gone unnoticed by those in her command. Watson is referred to as the “Sailor of the Century” by a few of her co-workers.
“Watson is a competitive, motivated and meticulous Sailor who constantly seeks increased responsibility and consistently produces quality results,” remarks Burton. “Her tireless efforts contributed significantly to the squadron’s overall aircraft readiness enabling 4,500 mishap free flight hours flown during winter and summer cruises 2011 and 2012.”
Her hard work has been awarded through two meritorious advancements. She gained her 3rd class petty officer title by finishing top of her class at her training school and was chosen by the HS-14 command to advance to 2nd class petty officer.
Watson’s achievements do not end there; she has also been selected as the Junior Sailor of Year by her command.
“Watson is an extremely talented AT and all around Sailor,” said HS-14’s Command Master Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Steinly. “Her superb efforts culminated in her recent selection as HS-14’s 2012 Junior Sailor of the Year and her advancement to AT2 under the Command Advancement Program.”
“I’m involved in my community, even out here in Japan, I volunteer with Yokohama’s Feed the Homeless,” explains Watson. “I’m in school trying to get my degree, so all this and I still maintain all my [qualifications] at work and push other people to do so.”
Watson says that she would tell anyone just starting out in the Navy or thinking about joining to work hard, set goals and achieve them.
“Never give up,” said Watson.
Even though Watson keeps herself busy accomplishing not only work and personal goals, but Watson also takes the time to enjoy doing what she loves.
“I love traveling, just hanging out, sight seeing, seeing new things, and reading,” remarks Watson.
Watson said that her favorite place she has traveled to is Hong Kong. In fact, she loved it enough that she went back second time.
However, her most memorable moment has taken place here in Japan.
“This summer I got to climb Mt. Fuji and I reached the top on my birthday,” explained Watson. “It was cold, but I knew once I started I could not say “Oh, I went Fuji but didn’t finish.” I had to finish, I had to keep going.”
To sum up her experience thus far Watson remarks, “I just work hard. I’m never just satisfied with one thing, I want it all.”