SAN DIEGO – A 2008 Eleanor Roosevelt High School graduate and Beltsville, MD, native is serving in the US Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the country’s most versatile combat ships.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Oyinkansola Otukoya is a culinary specialist serving aboard USS Fort Worth based in San Diego.
A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for the food service for the ship. “I've learned over the years that the success you experience is directly correlated to the effort you put into it,” said Otukoya.
The ship’s technological benefits allow for swapping mission packages quickly, meaning sailors can support multiple missions, such as surface warfare, mine warfare, or antisubmarine warfare.
Designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines, and fast surface craft, littoral combat ships (LCS) are a bold departure from traditional Navy shipbuilding programs. The LCS sustainment strategy was developed to take into account the unique design and manning of LCS and its associated mission modules.
According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is a long one. Following an 18-month training pipeline, sailors have to qualify on a simulator that is nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training pipeline allows sailors to execute their roles and responsibilities immediately upon stepping onboard.
"Every single day our LCS surface warriors prove they are the best and the brightest—and let me tell you, they love their ships,” said Capt. M. Jordan Harrison, commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron ONE. “LCS are fast, agile, maneuverable, and the minimal crew manning affords leadership and qualification opportunities you won’t get anywhere else in the Navy. Visit one of our ships, and you will see ensigns and chiefs at the helm because that is just how highly trained and talented and motivated our officers and sailors are in the LCS community."
As one of 70 crewmembers for one of the Navy’s newest ships, Otukoya explained they are building a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes. Crewmembers know how important it is for the Navy to develop new war-fighting capabilities to continue their success on the world’s oceans. Otukoya’s proudest accomplishment was reenlisting two times.
Through innovative planning, the design of systems, and crew requirements, the LCS platform allows the fleet to increase forward presence and optimize its personnel, improving the ability of the Navy to be where it matters, when it matters.
“The Navy has taught me the importance of personal accountability,” said Otukoya. “The best part about serving here is the people I work with. Their attitudes are the best I have seen in the Navy, and they have a take-on-any-challenge attitude.”