Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

The Las Cruces native serves aboard the USS Essex

By Rick Burke US Navy Office of Community Outreach

A native of Las Cruces serves aboard the USS Essex, a US Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Alysa Sanchez is a 2018 Mayfield High School graduate. She serves as a naval aviator’s seaman responsible for the safe movement, launch and recovery of all aircraft aboard the ship.

Sanchez joined the Navy three years ago to become more independent and have the opportunity to travel the world.

“I’ve learned that a team is a group of people, each with their own set of skills, which they may be good at, and which can help help the team,” said Sanchez. “As an individual, you need to find out what you’re good at in order to contribute and enable the team to thrive and function as a unit.”

“I learned to be reliable during my time in the Navy,” she said. “I’ve figured out how to take care of my sailors and be someone my command can rely on when they have a job to do.”

Homeported in San Diego, California, the USS Essex is the second ship in the Wasp-class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships and the fifth ship to be named for Essex County, Massachusetts. Essex was a 1,000 ton river gunboat owned by the US Army and later the US Navy during the American Civil War.

According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are designed to get U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. The ship, which is designed for versatility, offers the possibility of using helicopters, Harrier jets and Landing Craft Air Cushioned as well as conventional landing and attack vehicles in various combinations.

“I like serving under these command here because they have guided me and given me opportunities that have made me successful during my naval experience,” said Sanchez.

While there are many opportunities for Sailors to earn recognition in their command, community, and career, Sanchez is extremely proud to have made her second assignment aboard the USS Essex.

“I am also proud to be qualified as a landing signalman because it enabled me to support the ship and its missions,” said Sanchez.

“To me, serving in the Navy means starting the first generation of sailors in my family and letting my nieces and nephews follow in my footsteps,” she said.

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