Petty Officer Thomas Gill, from The Rock, Ga., has served in the Navy for two years as a Machinist’s Mate. Gill is serving on his first deployment on USS Bataan (LHD 5).
“I joined the Navy because my grandfather was in the Navy and my father was in the Army, so family tradition stepped in along with my aptitude for machinery and made taking the recruiter’s offer an easy choice. I feel like serving was the right thing to do,” said Gill. “I operate, repair, and perform maintenance on main propulsion equipment such as turbines, boilers, generators, and pumps.
“I am currently specifically responsible for keeping the fires lit in the boiler. I like my job because of the problem solving, figuring out why things don’t work and fixing them,” said Gill. “We work long hours, but I find a huge sense of fulfillment when I hear the plant come whirring to life.”
Since deployed, Bataan has conducted two rescues at sea. On March 8 Bataan rescued two Turkish mariners from their sinking cargo ship in the Aegean Sea. On June 6 Bataan rescued 282 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea after one of their small vessels sank. Bataan brought them onboard the ship, providing medical attention to the many needing it, and provided food, water and temporary shelter.
Bataan transferred 277 of the migrants to the Armed Forces of Malta offshore patrol vessel P61, and another five persons were medically evacuated to Malta June 7, 2014.
Bataan is deployed in the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR). Bataan departed from Naval Station Norfolk for an eight-month deployment Feb. 8.
The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet AOR.