Face of Defense: Las Vegas Native Cooks for Sailors, Marines
By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Karen Blankenship
Amphibious Squadron 11
PHILIPPINE SEA, Oct. 15, 2012 Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Latrice Walker, a Las Vegas native, is serving aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga while on deployment in the Western Pacific.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Latrice Walker chops vegetables in the ship's galley aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga, Sept. 16, 2012. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Karen Blankenship
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
As a culinary specialist, Walker is responsible for providing the ship’s crew and embarked Marines with three meals a day.
Walker said her rise through the ranks from seaman recruit to a third class petty officer has involved a lot of hard work.
“You have to do the grunt work,” she said. “I’ve worked in the chief’s mess and the wardroom. I’ve also worked as a damage control petty officer. I’ve pretty much done everything.”
Walker said that the fact that she stays busy throughout the day is her favorite part of her job.
“We work throughout breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she said. “You’re never confused about what you’re going to do. Your day is pretty much taken up until it’s time for you to get off.”
The 21-year-old sailor said she joined the Navy to take advantage of the educational benefits. She is attending Central Texas College and hopes to become an optometrist and open her own practice. Meanwhile, she’s enjoying the travel that’s part of Navy life.
“I like the fact that we visit all these countries,” she said. “We go from Guam to Thailand. I’ve also been to Palau and Saipan. I like traveling, meeting new people, seeing new things and experiencing the different cultures.”
Tortuga is part of the forward-deployed Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.