MIAMI – On a bright summer morning in July, Silbina Herrera, Port Security Watch Shift Commander (IPS) 2nd Class, was settling into her daily routine when she noticed something was wrong. was not going. When she looked over the water, her usual view of the San Diego skyline was obscured by giant plumes of white smoke billowing from the side of her ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).
Herrera wasted no time in taking action. She sent the junior sailor she had trained to her repair locker, gathered her sailors and got to work doing what she and all sailors in the United States Navy are trained to do; fight against fires.
The ship’s fire began on July 12, 2020, and sailors teamed up with local firefighting teams, battling the flames for four days before it ended. The damage was catastrophic and resulted in the decommissioning of the vessel and the injury of 63 sailors and civilians.
Unforgettable, the knowledge and team experience gained from this battle has left Herrera with a deep understanding of commitment and courage.
A year later, Herrera took the lessons she learned and applied them to recruiting at Navy Talent Acquisition Group Miami.
“I feel like I’m a better recruiter because of the things I’ve done,” Herrera said. “When I tell people about the opportunities and benefits of the Navy, I can speak from a place of experience.”
She tells her candidates that some people can be crewmasters in the navy, others cooks, but everyone is first and foremost a sailor, and with that comes the responsibility of fighting fires on board the ships. ships.
“Some candidates think they must be in the wilderness with a gun to help save American lives, but I tell them that’s not true,” Herrera said. “When we are at sea we have to rely on ourselves; there is no one who can help us if we find ourselves in trouble.”
Some candidates don’t believe Herrera when she starts talking about her experiences.
“I’m very real to my candidates, and that helps establish and build trust,” Herrera said. “These future sailors can look for anything, so I come with facts and don’t treasure them.”
Herrera also took away a greater appreciation for the training.
“When I talk to future sailors, I tell them how important our training is, and it’s not something we do to take time,” Herrera said. “Sadly, some people don’t realize how critical this can be until they are placed in these positions and face reality.”
While Herrera may have swapped the San Diego sun for the Miami sun, she will never forget the events of that day and the days that followed. It is this sense of service and sacrifice that she hopes to instill in the next generation of sailors.
NTAG Miami is made up of the finest naval officers, enlisted sailors and civilian personnel operating in an area of 60,000 square miles. NTAG South and Central Florida from Brooksville (50 miles north of Tampa), east to Vero Beach, drawing a line under Orlando and south including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Each year, the command reaches approximately 2,000 young men and women in the United States Navy.
The Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy recruiting regions, 26 Navy talent acquisition groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world . Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality applicants to ensure the continued success of the United States Navy.
For more information on the Commander of Navy Recruiting Command, visit http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MyNAVYHR), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).