Lt. Andrew Toomey, a native of Coronado, is serving in the U.S. Navy in San Diego.
“I grew up in Coronado, which is a big Navy town,” said Toomey. “I was surrounded by aircraft, ships and sailors. I always looked up to the officers in my hometown and I knew I wanted to be one of them. I thought it was exciting that I could join the Navy and then potentially end up back in my hometown, and here I am.”
Toomey joined the Navy five years ago. Today, Toomey serves with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron SIX (HSC 6) in San Diego, working with one of the Navy’s most advanced helicopters, the MH-60S Knighthawk.
Growing up in Coronado, Toomey attended Coronado High School and graduated in 2011. Today, Toomey uses the same skills and values learned in Coronado to succeed in the military.
“Growing up, I was taught the importance of hard work and community values,” said Toomey. “Positive mental attitude is also definitely needed when you’re away from family for a long time.”
These lessons have helped Toomey while serving in the Navy.
Navy pilots and aircrew at HSC 6 constantly train to ensure they are prepared for peacetime and warfighting missions. The mission set of the MH-60S includes anti-surface warfare, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, logistics support, personnel transport, humanitarian disaster relief, medical evacuation, support to Naval Special Warfare and organic airborne mine countermeasures. MH-60S helicopters are also equipped with the ability to conduct replenishments at sea, search and rescue missions and enable other operations for the carrier strike group.
“For over 60 years, HSC 6 has provided all-weather rotary wing operations to America’s Navy,” said Cmdr. Charles A. Chmielak, HSC 6’s commanding officer. “Whether it’s recovering the astronauts of Apollo 14 after they returned to Earth, or deploying around the world to preserve free and open sea lanes, our highly trained sailors have always answered the call, wherever and whenever the nation needs them.”
Serving in the Navy means Toomey is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus, rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy contributes to national security by ensuring freedom of the seas,” said Toomey. “We protect freedom around the world.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities, and capacity.
“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
Toomey and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“My proudest naval accomplishment is being able to balance being a professional pilot and valued leader in a squadron,” said Toomey. “I didn’t want to be just one, so I’m proud to be able to balance both.”
As Toomey and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“To me, serving in the Navy means being able to manage a busy and constantly changing, flexible life-style with a lot of demands,” added Toomey. “Our work is for others. We keep the country safe and put others before ourselves no matter what.”