A 2017 Lufkin High School graduate and Lufkin native provides key support as part of combat operations aboard USS Indianapolis, stationed at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.
Seaman Natalie Bermudez serves as a mineman responsible for building and hunting mines.
Bermudez credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Lufkin.
“Growing up in Lufkin, I mowed lawns with my father and that taught me the value of hard work,” said Bermudez.
“Sometimes you have no idea what you’re getting thrown into, so it helped me have a grasp on how things would be while serving in the Navy.”
LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
The ship’s technological benefits allow for swapping mission packages quickly, meaning sailors can support multiple missions, such as surface warfare, mine warfare or anti-submarine warfare. Littoral combat ships are a 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.
Bermudez is now a part of a long-standing tradition of serving in the Navy the nation needs.
“My dad was in the Army and brother was in the Air Force,” said Bermudez. “When I was younger I saw my brother go through boot camp and saw the amount of respect they have for the county, so I knew since I was little this was what I wanted to do.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Bermudez is most proud of completing recruit training.
“Graduating boot camp is my proudest accomplishment,” said Bermudez. “Having my parents there to see me it felt like it was a prize to them to see me want to make something out of myself.”
Bermudez 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.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon capital assets, Bermudez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
Serving in the Navy, Bermudez is learning about being a more respectable leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.
“Serving in the Navy means a lot because I can give back to my country and community,” said Bermudez.
“It’s even more special because my parents get to see me do it.”