Sunbury native serving country overseas


YOKOSUKA, Japan — Petty Officer 3rd Class Elijah Cantwell, a native of Sunbury, serves in Japan aboard the self-contained mobile airport and the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan.

Equipped with a full flight deck and more than 60 aircraft, including attack fighter jets and helicopters, aircraft carriers are one of the largest warships in the world.

Cantwell graduated from Big Walnut High School in 2020.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Sunbury.

“Being patient and having respect for everyone was taught in my family from a young age,” said Cantwell. “In the Navy we have people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. We all come together and work together to complete the mission.”

Cantwell joined the Navy two years ago. Today, Cantwell serves as a nuclear machinist’s mate.

“I joined the Navy in search of a better life. I wanted to see the world and see as many places as possible,” said Cantwell. “I would never have imagined that growing up I would be able to say at 20 years old I have been to 46 of the 50 states in the United States as well as traveling to Japan.”

Aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of America’s Naval forces. For more than 100 years, they have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.

According to Navy officials, aircraft carriers are versatile and have unique mission capabilities that make them a more strategic asset for the Navy than fixed-site bases. They are often the first response in a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans. In addition, no other weapon system can deploy and operate forward with a full-sized aircraft carrier’s speed, endurance, agility and combat capability of its air wing.

With 90% 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 recruiting and retaining talented people from across the rich fabric of America.

Cantwell serves in Japan as part of the forward-deployed naval forces. These naval forces operate with allies and partners to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Service members in this region are part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which has the largest area of responsibility in the world.

“We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day,” said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations. “Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.”

Cantwell has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I am most proud to say that during my first two years I have graduated from NMPTC A school and also proud to say I am a productive sailor serving in Japan,” said Cantwell.

Cantwell can take pride in serving America through military service.

“Serving in the Navy means giving yourself for the betterment of others,” said Cantwell. “We work together with other countries to ensure safety across the world’s waterways.”

Cantwell is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank my parents and grandparents for raising me to be the man and sailor I am today,” added Cantwell.

“If people want to have a career where they get an education, travel and see the world while getting a paycheck, the Navy is the right place for them,” added Cantwell.

Submitted by the U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach.

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