Story originally published in The Navy Reservist Magazine
After the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Gioranah Abellard watched sailors help her hometown and was inspired to join the Navy in that moment.
“I wanted to be a part of that legacy,” said Abellard, who immigrated to the United States from Haiti in 2002.
In 2016, when Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Abellard first arrived at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, she had two goals in mind: get out of her comfort zone and advance her professional career.
She is currently assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 8, and deployed for the first time, in support of Operation Spartan Shield at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
Arriving at CLDJ, Abellard went on to develop various programs for the weapons department and provided support to MSRON 8 convoys and maritime elements. “His initiative was instrumental in making our explosives deployment and security program a success,” said Phil Mertine, Gunner’s Mate Head of Weapons Department.
While deployed, Abellard assisted in multiple international events to include a trilateral training with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Djibouti Navy on search and seizure of vessels and discussions in English with Djibouti Navy Cadets.
“This deployment has given me the opportunity to not only work within my rate, but it has also given me insight into how international relations relates to the overall mission,” Abellard said.
Always looking to advance her civilian career, Abellard earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2020. “I am the first person in my immediate family to receive my bachelor’s degree, so you can imagine how happy I was when I was accepted into my Master’s program,” said Abellard.
As a full-time student, she successfully completed her master’s degree while deployed. “I am part of the first cohort to graduate with my Master of Science in Community Medicine with a focus on underrepresented and underserved communities. Also, without the scholarships and the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), I don’t think I would have really been able to afford it.”
While Abellard has achieved the goals he initially set for himself when he started in the Navy Reserve, he has now set a new goal: medical school.
“I want to be a doctor and commissioned as a US naval officer,” Abellard said.
Abellard will one day be able to help others in crisis, much like the sailors who provided aid and medical services in Haiti first inspired his voyage.
Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, serves as an expeditionary base for US military forces supporting the ships, aircraft, and personnel that ensure security throughout Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia. The base enables combat and maritime operations in the Horn of Africa while fostering positive US-Africa relations.
|Date to be held:||26.05.2023|
|Publication date:||06.05.2023 08:57|
|Native city:||BROCKTON, MA, USA|
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