Submitted by BRITTANY CROCKER
Seaman Noah Mercado, a native of Northampton, serves aboard a U.S. Navy warship operating out of Norfolk, Virginia. Mercado joined the Navy two years ago. Today, Mercado serves as a personnel specialist aboard USS Forrest Sherman.
“I was in college during the pandemic and didn’t enjoy online classes,” said Mercado. “I felt like I was wasting my time and wanted to do something real, so I found a Navy recruiter.”
Growing up in Northampton, Mercado attended Northampton Area High School and graduated in 2018.
Skills and values similar to those found in Northampton led to success in the military.
“Playing lacrosse, I learned that even if you’re not set up for success, you can still set yourself up to succeed with hard work,” said Mercado.
These lessons have helped Mercado while serving aboard USS Forrest Sherman.
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers provide a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments.
A Navy destroyer is a multi-mission ship that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. The ship is equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system. More than 300 sailors serve aboard USS USS Forrest Sherman. Their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.
As a member of the Navy, Mercado is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“We’re always deployed,” said Mercado. “We’re one of the only branches that is going out continuously to project power at sea.”
With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize 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.”
Mercado and the sailors they serve will have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“I’m proud of getting my master helmsman qualification,” said Mercado. “I drove the ship into port when we returned from our most recent deployment.”
As Mercado and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“I like being a part of a long tradition of sailors,” added Mercado. “We take tradition seriously, and I’ve always enjoyed learning the history of the Navy. I’m proud to be a part of that lineage.”
Mercado is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.
“I want to thank my parents, my sisters and my grandmother for their support,” added Mercado. “We miss each other, but they’re happy to see me doing what I love.”
Submitted by BRITTANY CROCKER