Newark native serves with Navy Electronic Attack Squadron

Photo Courtesy of Lt. Cmdr. Jake Joy
Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos Naranjo, a native of Newark, is serving with the U.S. Navy’s Electronic Attack Squadron 131, a carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft and the cornerstone of the naval Airborne Electronic Attack mission.

OAK HARBOR, WA — Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos Naranjo, a native of Newark, New Jersey, is serving with the U.S. Navy’s Electronic Attack Squadron 131.

“I wanted to pay for college and become a United States citizen,” Naranjo said. “I was born in Ecuador and moved to the U.S. in 2000 when I was 11 years old. I earned my citizenship on July 4, 2009, just eight months after I joined the Navy.”

Naranjo joined the Navy 12 years ago, not long after graduating from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in 2007. Today, Naranjo serves as an aviation structural mechanic safety equipment.

“Growing up in Newark, I learned to be street-smart,” Naranjo said. “You always need to be aware of your surroundings. The same is true when you’re serving aboard an aircraft carrier watching out for safety. The biggest influence for me was St. Benedict’s, because they gave me the tools to be successful. They give students a chance to be successful during school and in life.”

These lessons have helped Naranjo while serving in the Navy. Built to replace the EA-6B Prowler, the EA-18G Growler on which Naranjo serves is a carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft and the cornerstone of the naval Airborne Electronic Attack mission. Its platform is derived from the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, and adds a sophisticated electronic warfare suite that enables it to suppress enemy air defenses as well as electronic attack operations, according to the U.S. Navy.

The Growler has two seats, is more than 60 feet long and can weigh up to 66,000 pounds when fully loaded with all missiles and electronic jammers. It is capable of traveling more than 1,100 miles per hour — around 1.5 times the speed of sound.

“The Navy is the only branch that’s always deployed to protect the shipping lanes,” Naranjo said. “We’re always defending our nation, no matter what.”

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, U.S. 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, four priorities on which the Navy focuses are 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.”

Naranjo and other sailors have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I was honored to serve in recruiting to help minorities achieve their dreams, whether it was to go to college or earn their citizenship like I did,” Naranjo said. “Personally, I was also proud to be named the Sailor of the Year for my squadron in 2019. I earned my associate’s degree in aeronautical science while serving in the Navy.”

As Naranjo and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions to support national defense, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means that I can provide for my family financially, and it allows me to protect my family as well,” Naranjo said.

This article was written by Alvin Plexico of the Navy Office of Community Outreach.

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