Brooklyn man serving Navy in historic Pearl Harbor
Nation set to observe 75th anniversary of attack
As the nation pauses to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor, which took place 75 years ago on Dec. 7, 1941, the anniversary has special meaning for a Brooklyn native who is serving in the U.S. Navy in the very location that drew the U.S. into World War II.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Joel Cesar, a 1996 graduate of Lafayette High School in Bensonhurst, is assigned to the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters.
According to Navy officials, the U.S. Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States to the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Pacific Fleet consists of approximately 200 ships, nearly 1,100 aircraft and more than 140,000 sailors and civilians.
Cesar is responsible for mass communication practices.
“Being in this job keeps me on the tip of the spear,” Cesar said.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific, means that Cesar is serving in a part of the world, the Pacific, that is taking on new importance in America’s national defense strategy, according to Navy officials.
Pearl Harbor itself is home to more than 19,000 U.S. Navy sailors, 11 surface ships, 19 nuclear-powered submarines and 19 aircrafts.
Although the world has changed greatly in the past 75 years, the Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades, and for good reason, Navy officials said. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries and many U.S. allies.
The Navy is basing approximately 60 percent of its ships and aircraft in the region. Officials said the Navy will also provide its most advanced war fighting platforms to the region, including missile defense-capable ships, submarines, reconnaissance aircrafts and its newest surface warfare ships.
“Most American’s don’t get a chance to see the history like I get to experience while serving here. I’m involved in the planning of the events and getting to meet the survivors and help others learn about it is awesome,” said Cesar.
“It’s important for those of us serving in Pearl Harbor today to remember the sacrifice of those who served before us,” said Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet. “The important work we do everyday honors those who were here 75 years ago and is a testament to the enduring value of our Navy’s mission.”
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