SAN DIEGO (June 24, 2018) — A group of information warfare (IW) Sailors from a Northern California Navy Reserve unit traveled to San Diego June 23-24, for a two-day training event focused on fleet familiarization; where service members toured commands including one of the Navy’s newest ship platforms, the littoral combat ship USS Manchester (LCS 14).
This tour was a first for Navy Reserve Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii, Camp Parks (NR NIOC HI-CAMP PARKS). The trip was designed to give Sailors working outside fleet concentration areas the opportunity to experience Navy commands and platforms prior to mobilizations.
Cmdr. Erin E. Meehan, NR NIOC HI-CAMP PARKS commanding officer, said most of her Sailors deploy alone as individual augmentees and need to rely on different experiences for success. Meehan considers visits like this allow Reservists to expand their horizons in ways that could prove crucial to an upcoming deployment.
“While our mission is very specialized and unique, we support the fleet across sub-surface, surface, air and special warfare [communities],” said Meehan. “The activities and engagement this weekend focus on fleet and electronic warfare, critical subject matter for us as we progress.”
In addition to the tour aboard the USS Manchester, the unit met with a naval special warfare command and completed training efforts in coordination with Information Warfare Training Group San Diego.
Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 2nd Class Juan Torres spent six years on active-duty and has been a Reservist with NR NIOC HI-CAMP PARKS for one-and-a-half years. He expressed that on active duty he was tied to certain duty station locations but as a Navy Reservist he has had more flexibility in what he can see, learn and do.
“It’s a good feeling,” Torres said about his transition into the Navy Reserve. At NR NIOC HI-CAMP PARKS, he provides training support, managing the training progress for a unit of more than 35 personnel.
Each year Meehan works to get funding to enhance her unit’s training schedule with opportunities similar to the visit to San Diego. The unit, located outside of San Francisco, also works to recruit Sailors with special skill sets out of Silicon Valley and throughout the San Francisco Bay region.
Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Orland Gardiola works in Silicon Valley as a software engineer and has completed several deployments over the 13 years he’s been in the Navy Reserve. He considers himself lucky to have the flexibility to use his Navy and civilian job skills at different commands.
“Because of my civilian skill set, I’m also able to support different active duty commands,” Gardiola said. “For example, I [deployed to U.S. Africa Command] to work in data analytics and was there for over a year. That was really fun to do.”
The majority of Sailors assigned to NR NIOC HI-CAMP PARKS are members of the information warfare community, specifically cryptologic warfare officers and cryptologic technicians, with a few Sailors who also manage administrative efforts for the unit. The unit supports mission objectives for Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii, under Fleet Cyber Command/ U.S. 10th Fleet.
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