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Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Indra Beaufort | 220806-N-IE405-1175 NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY NAPLES, Italy (Aug. 6, 2022) Chief…… read more read more
Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Indra Beaufort | 220806-N-IE405-1175 NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY NAPLES, Italy (Aug. 6, 2022) Chief Information Systems Technician Mark Cervantes, right, and Chief Master-at-Arms Jennifer Andrews, move a clothing rack during a volunteer event at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) Thrift Shop onboard NSA Naples’ Support Site in Gricignano di Aversa, Italy, Aug. 6, 2022. Sailors from the NSA Naples’ Chiefs Mess and the First Class Petty Officer Association attended the volunteer event in preparation for the NMCRS Thrift Shop re-opening on Aug. 15, 2022. NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed to ensure security and stability in the European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Indra Beaufort) see less | View Image Page
(By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Indra Beaufort)
NAPLES, Italy — Chief Information Systems Technician Mark Cervantes spends his final days with the chief petty officer (CPO) selectees sharing sea stories and remembering naval history during the Fiscal Year 2023 CPO initiation season at U.S. Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples.
Having been assigned to Naples, Italy for the past three years, Cervantes said that the Italian city reminds him of his hometown in New York; and Italy has a special place in his heart.
“I got stationed for the third time in Italy and it was cool because I was able to learn the Italian language and culture even more,” said Cervantes.
As he reflects on his childhood, Cervantes said that being raised in Queens, New York has its own challenges.
“Growing up in my neighborhood, the environment that I was in, there was a lot of peer pressure, but I was able to stay out of drugs and not join any type of gangs,” said Cervantes.
Cervantes said that he takes pride in overcoming challenges by doing the right thing early on in his life, and credits his early life-making decisions to his parents.
The hardships that his father, Marcos Cervantes, had to face as an immigrant in order to provide sustenance and give a better life for his wife and children made the future U.S. Navy Sailor realize that he owes it to himself and to his family to enrich his life.
“Being a first-generation immigrant family, after migrating from Colombia to the United States, it was put in my mind to do better than my parents, to succeed in life, to be the boss,” said Cervantes.
Cervantes said that he was never a studious person in school so he found his pursuit of learning —elsewhere. Since he did not have a plan for the future, he motivated himself to join the U.S. Navy.
“The U.S. Navy took me in and gave me the rating of Radioman, which was later converted to Information Systems Technician, and I never looked back,” said Cervantes, who joined the Navy in 1999.
Cervantes, now an adult and working in an environment where Sailors are encouraged to strive for the best, revisited his past and added another ambition. Cervantes continued his education and 20 years after joining the Navy, he received his college degree.
Years later, Cervantes got married with children of his own. As a husband and a father, Cervantes had to face another challenge: deployment.
“I have made a lot of sacrifices, missed a lot of birthdays and anniversaries but we overcame it as a family —together.”
Like his father, Cervantes has never forgotten his roots. He wanted to continue the family tradition of providing a better life for his wife and children.
During Cervantes’ 17-year career, he continued to follow his rating career ladder on getting promoted to the chief petty officer rank. In 2016, Cervantes was stationed at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in Norfolk, Virginia when he received the news that he was going to receive his fouled anchors.
“It was an awesome experience, a great achievement that I thought I would never get,” said Cervantes when he was selected and promoted to the CPO rank in 2016.
“In Norfolk, there were 400-plus chief petty officers. There were many salty, older chiefs but they still had a lot of energy to continue and motivate Sailors,” said Cervantes, describing his CPO initiation season.
“After getting pinned, I learned a lot on how a chief should be, and how to better groom petty officers to chief petty officers.”
Cervantes said that he is grateful to be part of the Chiefs Mess due to the networking opportunities and the opportunities to learn from each other.
“I can contact any chief from around the world and they will help me out no matter what.”
This year, Cervantes participated in the CPO initiation season as an active-duty military member —one last time. Cervantes will be retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2023.
On “Final Night”, the day before the chief pinning ceremony on Oct. 21, Cervantes reflects and shares his life experiences with the soon-to-be chief petty officers.
“I think my purpose is to make people happy and be a sounding board for doing the right thing,” said Cervantes.
“Growing up in the Navy, I did not have people who approached me, helped me out, and mentor me. I felt that giving back to the community, now as a chief, benefits any Sailor crossing my path. I was showing what I never received [in life] until I was in the Navy,” Cervantes said.
“I also feel that we need to support each other in many ways.”
Cervantes said that he still wants to give back to the military community in the future, as a government employee.
“The U.S. Navy has given me so much during my Navy career,” said Cervantes.
Cervantes said that he would like to share one more advice not only to all the newly pinned CPOs but also to all of his shipmates.
“The key thing to remember …don’t forget where you came from. Wear that uniform and last name with pride and enjoy every moment of your Navy career.”
NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed to ensure security and stability in the European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility.
For more news about NSA Naples and the Sailors who serve onboard the installation, please follow us on Instagram @NSANaples and Facebook at facebook.com/NSANaples/.
This work, U.S. Navy Sailor Remembers His Roots during CPO Initiation Season, by PO1 Indra Beaufort, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.
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