Bradenton sailor aboard historic USS Bataan

toconnor@bradenton.comJuly 13, 2014 

U.S. Navy Petty Officer Kayla Green of Bradenton, a 2010 graduate of Manatee High School, made her mother cry when she revealed her post-graduation plans.

“My mother was hysterical and forbid to me join so, of course, I got the first flight out to boot camp,” Green emailed from her deployment aboard the USS Bataan.

Green’s enlistment in the U.S. Navy, however, worked out well for all involved.

Green has been an electrician’s mate in the Navy for two years, according to Glenn Sircy, U.S. Navy Office Of Community Outreach spokesman. She is serving on her first deployment on the USS Bataan (LHD 5), which is historic in itself.

The USS Bataan, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship commissioned in 1997, is named to honor the defense of the Bataan peninsula on the western side of Manila Bay in the Philippines just 10 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States into World War II.

The Bataan is the U.S. Navy’s first amphibious assault ship designed and built from the keel up with accommodations for female sailors. This “Women at Sea” modification provides living areas for nearly 450 female officers, chiefs, enlisted personnel and embarked troops. Overall, the ship has living areas for nearly 3,200 crew members and troops, according to the Navy website.

Despite the “Women at Sea” modifications, the Navy remains a male-dominated world but one Green said does not intimidate her.

“The majority of people working in the engineering department are male,” she said. “However, the few of us females here are very strong-willed and confident in our work performance, and we refuse to take any crap from any of the males.”

She said she joined the Navy to get an education and career and to travel. She became an electrician’s mate after just four months of training in boot camp and OJT (on job training) thereafter.

“I like my job because of the feeling of accomplishment I have when I fix something,” said Green.

There’s a danger level in riding a rescue ship the caliber of the USS Bataan.

“It can be highly dangerous,” Green said. “You never know which country is going to start something with another country. The USS Bataan comes to everyone’s rescue.”

The Bataan has already conducted two rescues at sea during Green’s time aboard.

On March 8, Bataan rescued two Turkish mariners from their sinking cargo ship in the Aegean Sea.

On June 6, Bataan rescued 282 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea after their small vessel sank. Bataan brought them onboard, providing medical attention, food, water and temporary shelter.

Bataan transferred 277 migrants to the Armed Forces of Malta offshore patrol vessel P61, and another five were evacuated to Malta for medical reasons June 7.

The 22-year-old Green celebrated a birthday July 10 aboard ship. The Bataan, deployed in the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility, departed from Naval Station Norfolk for an eight-month deployment Feb. 8 and is scheduled to return Oct. 8.

The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response and increase theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet, according to Lt. Patricia Kreuzberger, public affairs officer aboard the USS Bataan.

Green will return in October to a Manatee County welcome from her parents, sister, aunts and uncles and grandmother, she said.

“I look forward to seeing my family and actually being able to relax,” Green said in her email. “I love them and miss them and can’t wait to make up for lost time!”

Terry O’Connor, Herald night metro editor, can be reached at toconnog@bradenton.com or by calling 941-745-7040.

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