PEARL HARBOR, HI – A Covington native and 2008 Newton High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Williams-Torrence serves as a Navy operations specialist assigned to Navy Region Hawaii in the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. The U.S. Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.
As a Navy operations specialist, Williams-Torrence is responsible for any and all emergency planning for the entire region of Hawaii.
“Anything from car accidents to destructive weather, but we mostly focus on any events that might result in a greater loss of life,” said Williams-Torrence. “As a foreign ship liaison, I am responsible for coordinating with every foreign country naval vessel that makes port in Hawaii.”
Williams-Torrence credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Covington.
“My hometown taught me the value of hard work,” said Williams-Torrence. “I took that lesson with me and apply it every day while serving.”
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% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80% of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90% of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means Williams-Torrence 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.
The Pacific is home to more than 50% 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.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Williams-Torrence is most proud of watching his junior sailors succeed.
"I have personally accomplished many things while in the military. I became a subject matter expert in multiple aspects of my job, but helping others win is the greatest feeling I have experienced,” said Williams-Torrence. “Most of my accomplishments came from experience and proficiency in my job. I am most proud of passing our tactical data link response team training. It was a long and difficult task that we completed together only because we could trust and rely on one another.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Williams-Torrence, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Williams-Torrence is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“Both of my parents served in the military, but I was most influenced by my mother and her commitment to the U.S. Army,” said Williams-Torrence. “She taught me the values I needed to make it in the Navy.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Williams-Torrence and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Prior to arrival at my current duty station, I had been in stationed in Japan for almost 10 years. I absolutely love everything about Japan and the people were so polite and respectful. I've only been back in the states for about a year and a half. Hawaii is great. Most call it paradise, but I still love Japan the most,” added Williams-Torrence. “Serving in the Navy means I get to travel the world and experience other cultures first hand. In my first year onboard my first ship, I had already gone to nine different countries and experienced so many different cultures.”