vol-20-no-5-Navy - National LATINA Symposium
On board the USS Midway on Chief Petty Officer
On board the USS Midway on Chief Petty Officer with
childhood friend Amy Sutherland prior to pinning ceremony.
Latina Letters From the Front!
By LSC (SW/AW/SCW) Socorro Guadalupe Smithduenas
Logistics Specialist Leading Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy
was born and raised in a small town
in Mexico by the name of Pericos.
When I was 8 years old I immigrated
to the U.S., I remember it like it was
yesterday. I grew to LOVE the U.S. I
devoured anything and everything that
had to do with American history, how
the military protected its country and
people. I used to (still do) get goose
bumps and feel an overwhelming
emotion when reciting the Pledge of
Allegiance and National Anthem.
After high school graduation I hadn’t planned
to do anything in particular but get a job and
work, so with my father’s suggestion I had
started to really think about the Navy as a real
opportunity to do things I otherwise would not
have an opportunity to do. My father suggested
I go see the Navy recruiters and I did. A few
weeks later I had signed my contract and was
given the ship-out-to-boot camp date of
September 15th. My whole family except
my father had believed I was too delicate
On board the USS Abraham Lincoln during 2003
deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom.
and too weak to make it through boot camp,
but I was determined to prove them wrong. I
graduated Navy boot camp on the 8th of
December in 1998.
My first assignment was sea duty with
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Four
(HS-4) in San Diego, California from
1999-2003. As an E-1 my job was to
clean, maintain, inspect, and upkeep six
SH-60 helicopters and went on my two
deployments with HS-4 aboard the USS
ABRAHAM LINCOLN as an Aviation
Storekeeper Third Class (E-4). My second
assignment was shore duty with HS-10 in
San Diego, California from 2003-2006 where I
picked up the rank of E-5 and was in charge
of the command’s Operational Target Finances
program which received many compliments
by higher echelon inspectors and was used
as an example for other commands on how
a well-run finance program should look like.
My third command was the USNS SAN JOSE
in Guam from 2006-2007 where I was once
again in charge of finances. My fourth
command was the Amphibious Construction
Battalion One in San Diego from 2007-2010
where I advanced to E-6 and was made the
Financial Manager and the Assistant Leading
Petty Officer to a department of 40 personnel.
My fifth command was with NATO in Mons,
Belgium and by far my most exciting tour. I
was stationed at Supreme Headquarters
Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) with NATO
Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ)
and traveled to places I never thought I
would go, as well as experienced working
with a multitude of nationalities. Within
months of arriving I headed to Kabul
Afghanistan for an 8-month tour, and
worked closely with local contractors and
With husband (Victor Voodre) and father (Robert
Smith) prior to pinning.
laborers. NSHQ taught me the importance
of communication and clarification in a
I am currently at Training Support Center
San Diego (TSC), where I advanced to the
much coveted rank of Chief Petty Officer.
Soon after advancing, I became the leading
Chief Petty Officer for a Supply Department
that supports eight Navy school learning
sites located on six bases across California
and Japan in any supply needs.
With time, I started to realize that I
LOVED being in the Navy. The purpose and
gratification that I felt from the responsibility
that I was allowed to have really made me
feel like I was contributing to the American
cause. I began to feel great pride in not just
my job but the Navy as a whole, and I became
very passionate about everything I did. I had
also started to learn the importance of leading
younger troops and how to motivate them
into having pride in themselves, their careers
and our Navy.
I love my family but I proved them wrong
in having graduated Navy Boot camp and
continue to prove them wrong every single
day that I serve and I couldn’t be prouder.
NAVY CHIEF, NAVY PRIDE! L
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