Spring native serves aboard USS Essex

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By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel, Navy Office of Community Outreach

MILLINGTON, Tenn. – A Spring, Texas, native is serving aboard USS Essex, a U.S. Navy Wasp class amphibious assault ship.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Katerine Ponce Benitez is a 2017 Spring High School graduate. Today, Smith serves as a Navy boatswain’s mate.

“I would describe the Boatswain’s Mate rating as expertise in mariner skills.” said Ponce Benitez. “We performing dangerous tasks such as anchoring and mooring the ship, refueling the at sea with other ships and providing the safe navigation of the ship,”

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GULF OF OMAN (Nov. 7, 2021) Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Katerine Ponce Benitez, from Spring, Texas, poses for a photo aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Nov. 7. Essex and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joe Rolfe)