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Atwater resident embodies Veterans Day values

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Arocha of Atwater.
Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Arocha of Atwater.


Navy Office of Community Outreach

As Americans reflect on the service of military men and women this Veterans Day, some may not realize that they are fellow residents with those who serve in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Arocha, a resident of Atwater, California, supports and defends freedom around the world, as a Navy construction electrician, who is responsible for the installation and maintenance of street lighting, fire alarms, public address, inter-office and telephone switchboard systems. Arocha also utilizes batteries, electric motors, relays, generators and blueprints as a part of his job as a construction electrician.

Reservists seamlessly support and actively aid military missions while continuing to lead their own independent lives in the civilian world, according to Navy officials.

“The Navy Reserve is a 100K strong team of sailors embedded across the fabric of society, loyal and dedicated patriots, serving both in uniform and civilian jobs, ready to defend the homeland and deploy across the world in a moment’s notice,” said Vice Adm. Luke McCollum, Chief of Navy Reserve.

The Navy Reserve provides strategic depth to America’s Navy as it protects the American homeland and advances economic prosperity by preserving freedom of the seas.

In addition to serving in the Navy Reserve, Arocha has been working at his civilian job for just under two years. He balances his military duties with his civilian life by relying on his support system.

“The support of my family and friends have been my biggest help when it comes to my military career,” said Arocha. “Without them I would not be able to do what I do.”

As a Navy reservist, Arocha serves with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 18 and is the platoon leader responsible for the day-to-day tasks of the platoon and maintaining the platoons training, physical readiness, mental and physiological readiness.

Arocha is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the Nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Arocha is most proud of earning the Army Commendation Medal.

“I received it for the work that I did on my last deployment to the Middle East,” said Arocha. “I was the only form of engineer on the camp and I was in charge of making sure the camp ran smoothly every day, 24/7.”

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Arocha, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Arocha is honored to carry on that family tradition.

“My grandfather served in World War II,” said Arocha. “I do not feel that it is much of a legacy but I do think that I am setting a standard for my future family. I also know that my grandfather would be very proud of me if he was still around.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Arocha and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“My job has been the biggest reward for me,” said Arocha. “I have been able to go on many different missions. I have been able to rehab schools, hospitals, orphanages. I have been able to help the war fighter on the front lines. No matter where I am at I get to help people. That is what serving in the Navy means to me.”

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