Home Community Newnan Native Serves with Versatile U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron in Hawaii

Newnan Native Serves with Versatile U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron in Hawaii

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Finley

A 2006 Newnan High School graduate, 2012 Jacksonville State University in Alabama graduate, and Newnan, Georgia, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 37) stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Katrina White is a Navy yeoman serving with HSM 37, a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter.

A Navy yeoman is responsible for providing administrative support to the squadron. 

White credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Newnan. 

“My hometown taught me to stay humble, appreciate life more, never forget where you came from and always stay motivated,” said White.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea. 

Being stationed in Hawaii, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means White is serving in a part of the world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many U.S. allies. The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades.

HSM 37’s primary mission is to conduct sea control operations in open-ocean and coastal environments as an expeditionary unit. This includes hunting for submarines, searching for surface targets over the horizon and conducting search and rescue operations, if required. 

According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the Navy’s new primary maritime dominance helicopter, replacing the SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft. Greatly enhanced over its predecessors, the MH-60R helicopter features a glass cockpit and significant mission system improvements, which give it unmatched capability as an airborne multi-mission naval platform.

As the U.S. Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, the MH-60R “Romeo” is the cornerstone of the Navy’s Helicopter Concept of Operations. Anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare are the MH-60R’s primary missions. Secondary missions include search and rescue, medical evacuation, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, communications relay, command, control, communications, command and control warfare and non-combat operations.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, White is most proud of nearing completion of her master’s degree in healthcare administration management from Liberty University in Virginia.

“My ultimate goal is to have a doctorate, and I’m now only one step away,” said White.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, White and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs. 

“I appreciate the work and life balance and camaraderie at this command,” added White. “The Navy is helping me to have a successful career and life. Through my service, I am learning how to be a leader and gaining experiences with travel, networking and more to help me in the future.”

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Alice Ridley-Teal
Six-time STAR teacher, Alice taught Advanced Placement English, literature, composition, speech and theater for over twenty years, part of which time she also served as Director of Admissions, Development, Public Relations, and Alumni at Oak Mountain Academy. She is the managing partner of Ridley-Teal Properties and content editor for the City Menus. She is a board member of the Carroll Symphony Orchestra and enjoys playing flute with the Carroll Community Wind Ensemble.