Filipino seafarer serves as operation specialist aboard in US Navy warship

From being an undesignated seaman, a Filipino seafarer now serves as an operation specialist aboard the United States guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook.

Hailing from Cagayan de Oro, Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Jumilla has joined the Navy four years ago.

​Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Jumilla (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Patricia Rodriguez)

“I wanted to do something to make a difference in my life. I went to college but got bored, and I wanted a sense of belonging,” Jumilla said in a report by Lieutenant Jill Brown of the Navy Office of Community Outreach released on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Jumilla said while growing up in his hometown, he used those values to serve and succeed in the military.

“A sense of family, helping others, and respecting my elders are part of my Filipino culture,” the Filipino seafarer said.

The Cagayan de Oro native said while he continues his service in the Navy, the US focuses on rebuilding “military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

Jumilla underscored that it takes all of the allies to maintain relationships with other countries through sharing resources, making them feel safe, and helping them.

The report said USS Donald Cook returned home from Naval Station Rota Spain after spending five years as a forward-deployed destroyer.

“These sailors distinguished themselves throughout their five years deployed overseas. Their contribution to NATO security and freedom of navigation is a legacy that will now continue with Arleigh Burke,” Captain Joseph Gagliano, Destroyers Squadron 60 and Task Force 65 commander said.

The Filipino seafarer said he takes pride in serving the country through the US Navy.

“I was an undesignated seaman but ended up becoming an operation specialist. I struggled to catch up to the other sailors, but now I'm caught up,” Jumilla recounted.

“God-given purpose and patriotism make you feel like you are doing something more. Serving my country makes me proud, and gives a peace of mind that you're doing something for others to have a peaceful life,” he added.