A 2014 Mater Lakes Academy graduate and Miami native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Carter Hall. Seaman Jesse Gutierrez is a boatswain’s mate aboard the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship operating out of Norfolk, VA.
A Navy boatswain’s mate is responsible for participating in major evolutions like small boat operations, amphibious operations and underway replenishment as well as driving the ship at the helm.
“I just like visiting other countries,” Gutierrez said. “I’ve been to Iceland, Norway, Amsterdam [Netherlands], Germany and Estonia. Iceland was my favorite.”
Commissioned in 1995, USS Carter Hall, is 610 feet long. The ship can travel at speed in excess of 20 nautical miles per-hour.
Carter Hall is one of four Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships currently in service. The ships primary purpose is to launch equipment and personnel for amphibious missions.
“The Carter Hall success since departing the shipyard in November 2015 has been due to the hard work and dedication of the entire crew,” said Cmdr. Tina Dalmau, commanding officer, USS Carter Hall. “I could not be more proud of their accomplishment over the last eight months.
“We recently returned from operations overseas in support of BALTOPS 2016. This exercise was an excellent opportunity for my crew to improve their interoperability amongst our NATO allies and partners while demonstrating NATO’s commitment to security in the Baltic Region.”
Approximately 22 officers and 390 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the ship running smoothly. The jobs range from washing dishes and preparing meals to maintaining engines and handling weaponry.
“I was previously assigned to Tortuga and am now here aboard Carter Hall,” said Gutierrez. “I appreciate strong leadership on a ship.”
Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a ship, the challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew.
The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Gutierrez and other Carter Hall sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“I just decided one day to go and join the Navy,” Gutierrez said. “I was looking for camaraderie.”