Bloomfield native, SHP grad serves aboard U.S. Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship

Brian Bennett // Photo Courtesy of Mass Communication Spc. 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne

SAN DIEGO, CA — Chief Petty Officer Brian Bennett, a native of Bloomfield, joined the Navy 14 years ago and now serves as an information systems technician aboard USS Tripoli.

“I originally joined the Navy because I needed a change in my life,” Bennett said. “The Navy provided me that opportunity.”

Growing up in Bloomfield, Bennett attended Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange and graduated in 2000. Today, Bennett uses the same skills and values learned in Bloomfield and at SHP to succeed in the military.

“I was brought up to take pride in my work and give my all to anything that I do,” Bennett said. “I became chief after only nine years. That can be a difficult feat for those serving as information systems technicians.”

USS Tripoli incorporates key components to provide the fleet with a more aviation-centric platform. The design features an enlarged hangar deck, aviation maintenance facilities realignment and expansion, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity.

“The sailors aboard this ship have been given an enormous task — get this ship ready,” said Capt. John Kiefaber, USS Tripoli’s executive officer. “They brought this ship to life in the midst of a pandemic and continue to operate it safely and effectively, rising to every occasion. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Serving in the Navy means Bennett 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.

“We deploy all over the world in order to protect other countries and ourselves,” Bennett said.

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.

According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, the Navy focuses its efforts on four priorities: 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,” Gilday said. “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.”

This focus on the United States’ security allows sailors, such as Bennett, many opportunities for accomplishment during their military service.

“I’m most proud of leading a group of civilians and sailors in the Inaugural Joint Active Directory Initiative,” Bennett said. “We supported the first of its kind integration of multiservice health records.”

As Bennett and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions with which they are tasked, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“I’m proud to be the only sailor in my family,” Bennett said. “My other family members are in the Army, so it’s a sense of pride for me that I get to wear the Navy uniform, serve my country and train my sailors.”

This article was written by Mass Communications Specialist Jennifer Gold of the Navy’s Office of Community Outreach.