NORFOLK, Va. – Most Americans rely on weather forecasts to plan their daily routine. The U.S. Navy is no different. With numerous ships, submarines and airplanes deployed in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s area of operations, sailors stationed at the Fleet Weather Center, in Norfolk, Va., make it their primary mission to monitor extreme weather conditions in support of the fleet’s daily operations.
Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Vincenti, a 1994 Burgettstown Area Senior High School graduate and native of Eldersville, is one of these sailors serving at the Fleet Weather Center, which is responsible for providing timely, comprehensive, and tactically relevant information for ships, submarines, aircraft and other commands operating out of the Hampton Roads area.
As a Navy aerographer's mate, Vincenti is responsible for safety of the fleet and assisting the warfighter in knowing the weather to give them the advantage they need to complete missions.
Vincenti credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Eldersville.
“Growing up in the greater Pittsburgh area gave me a strong work ethic,” said Vincenti. "It's a steel and coal city, so the culture was attuned to the mentality of 'labor hard and grind it out.'"
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Naval Oceanography defines and applies the physical environment for the entire Navy fleet from the bottom of the ocean to the stars,” said Rear Adm. John Okon, commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. “There isn't a plane that flies, a ship or a submarine that gets underway without the sailors and civilians of naval oceanography.”
Vincenti is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Vincenti is most proud of graduating from Navy boot camp later in life.
“At 34 years old, I was part of the wave that the armed forces saw sweep through during the 2008-2010 time period,” said Vincenti. "The demographic shift caused an amazing, positive change that can still be seen today."
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Vincenti, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Vincenti is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My father served in the Air Force, my grandfather served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and my uncle also served in the Navy,” said Vincenti.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Vincenti and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“I'm proud to carry on my family tradition of serving in the military,” added Vincenti. "I get the opportunity to see the world through deployments and overseas assignments. I also enjoy meeting new people.”