Serving as an military hydrographer in the Navy

Did you know you could serve as an military hydrographer in the Navy? I really enjoyed hearing about Alicia’s experience in the Navy and a career field I had never heard about. She attended the Naval Academy and then went to get her masters at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey. After graduation she went to serve aboard a ship and was able to deploy twice. today, Alicia serves as New Politics’ COO where she applies many of these lessons from the field into her role, instigating a mission-driven culture that encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Serving as an military hydrographer in the Navy

Alicia had a friend tell her about the Navy Academy and it sounded interesting. She attended the summer camp at the Academy between her junior and senior year and loved it. It seemed like a fun adventure and she was excited to attend. One of her favorite parts was the people that she met. September 11th happened while she was at the Academy and she remembers how sobering and real that was. But they had also been preparing for the next war so even though it was unexpected it wasn’t something they as cadets were not prepared for.

Getting her masters

She and about 15 of her Naval Academy classmates had the chance to get their masters after graduating from the Academy at the Naval Post Graduate School. She talked about how challenging it was. Attending school after graduating from the Academy had her a little burned out. She also talked about how it was different than the Academy with more freedom. When she graduated she was exited to be part of the fleet.

Deploying as a SWO

When you serve in the Navy as an officer you first have to serve in an undesignated rate such as Surface Warfare Officer. That was the career option she picked. She learned how to drive a Naval vessel. She deployed twice. Once for drug interdiction in South America and the other time she was doing piracy control and swung into the Persian Sea. While acting as Naval Liaison Office for the Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure Team, she was awarded the Navy’s Commendation Medal for coordinating aid given to 21 released hostages, repairs to 3 pirated vessels, and the repatriation of ten Somali personnel under custody (aka “pirates”) into Mombassa, Kenya.

Working as a Hydrographer/Sonar Tech

After a few years as a SWO she transferred to work as a military hydrographer as a METOC officer (meteorology and oceanography)…which is now all information dominance. She got to drive jet skis and map the ocean floor as a military hydrographer. She talked about how cool it was to do this job and how she also got to travel to other parts of the country and the world. Even though, she enjoyed her job she thought she could do more outside of the Navy. Along with the fact her parents health was failing. This led her to leave the military at the end of her tour in 2008.

Transitioning out of the military

Leaving the military was harder than she expected. The first job she found was not what she wanted and ended up being focused on making a profit and not helping people. While in that role she learned she could work for a non-profit and get paid as an employee. It pushed her to explore options and eventually led to where she is today at New Politics.

I love that they are working to help veterans find ways to give back to their community through serving in politics. It was also a good reminder that getting involved doesn’t have to be something big. It can start right in your community with a small role that will make an impact for your community.


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