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HomeNationalFrom Lagos To US Navy: Top-Graduating Nigerian Sailor Joins Strike Fighter Squadron

From Lagos To US Navy: Top-Graduating Nigerian Sailor Joins Strike Fighter Squadron

Seaman Rafiu Shabi, a sailor from Lagos, Nigeria, serves in the U.S. Navy assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 125. The command is a joint strike fighter squadron located aboard the U.S. Navy’s largest master jet base.

Shabi joined the Navy six months ago, the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) said in a June 15 blog. Today, Shabi serves as a logistics specialist.

“I joined the Navy to do something great and to be a better person,” said Shabi.

Growing up in Lagos, Shabi attended Unique Heights Junior Senior High School, graduating in 2017. Today, Shabi relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Lagos to succeed in the military.

“Growing up, I learned to respect everyone and to treat everyone with respect,” said Shabi.

These lessons have helped Shabi while serving with the Navy.

Members of VFA-125 fly and maintain the F35-C Lightning II, a combat-ready fifth-generation fighter.

According to Navy officials, the F-35C is designed with the entire battlespace in mind, bringing transformational capability to the United States and its allies. Missions traditionally performed by specialised aircraft (air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic attack, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) can now be executed by a squadron of F-35s.

For the first time in U.S. naval aviation history, radar-evading stealth capability comes to the aircraft carrier deck. The F-35C carrier variant sets new standards in weapon system integration, lethality, maintainability, combat radius and payload that bring true multi-mission power projection capability from the sea, according to Navy officials.

This year commemorates 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola; one year later, six of them, known as “The First Six,” earned their “Wings of Gold.”

Over the past 50 years, the US Navy has expanded its roles for women to lead and serve globally and today, its women aviators project power from the sea in every type of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft. The country and its Navy are stronger because of their service.

With 90 percent of global commerce travelling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fibre optic cables, US Navy officials continue to emphasise that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

“Our mission remains timeless – to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”

As a member of the Navy, Shabi is part of a world-class organisation focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities, and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy protects the people of this country,” said Shabi.

Shabi and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I was proud to graduate at the top of my class in logistics specialist “A” school,” said Shabi. “I dedicated a lot of time to this school, and was proud of my work there.”

As Shabi and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means protecting the lives of others,” said Shabi.

Shabi is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank my parents, Hon Shabi and Alhaja Abeo, and my brother Ismail,” added Shabi. They encouraged me to join the military and I want to make them proud.”

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