By Gayle VanVooren
Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Gregory DeSmet, a native of Minneota, was the guest of honor at the Retirement Ceremony held on August 27 at Port Orchard, Washington.
Parents Francis and Doris DeSmet and their family members were on hand to witness the ceremony.
Doris wasas very proud and pleased, to be awarded the flag off the ship, the USS John C. Stennis, as part of the day’s ceremonies.
DeSmet is a 1990 graduate of Minneota High School and began his service with the Navy in August of that year.
Basic Training started it all in Great Lakes, Illinois. His first sea command was on the USS Independence in San Diego, California. While there, he worked in the engineering department, helping to maintain the ship’s hull and piping systems.
He was then on to the USS Carl Vinson ported in Bremerton, Washington. He was promoted to Machinist Mate Third Class while on duty, maintaining the ship’s aircraft elevators and steering system.
In 1993, he converted rates to Aviation Ordnanceman and attended special schooling. He then reported to the USS Abraham Lincon ported in Alameda, California, and was assigned aircraft armament system management. He also went on his first deployment tour to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.
He worked with the Weapons Department on the USS Carl Vinson in Bremerton, WA. He completed two Western Pacific/Arabian Gulf deployments and during this time was promoted to Aviation Ordnanceman Second Class and Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Petty Officer.
His first set of shore duties came in 2002, when he was assigned to the Naval Brig Puget Sound located at Submarine Base Bangor, Washington. Here he worked as the Correctional Custody Unit Supervisor.
He then attended Air Launch Weapons Supervisor school and in 2005 reported to the USS Nimitz, ported in San Diego, CA., where he was assigned to the Weapons Department.
DeSmet’s final duty station was on the USS John C. Stennis in the Weapons Department in 2007. He was the Leading Petty Officer and in 2008 was promoted to Chief Petty Officer status.
DeSmet has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal (four), Good Conduct Service Medal (seven), National Defense Service Medal (two), Armed Forces Expeditionary and multiple other unit and campaign awards.
oAye Mates, for many years this sailor stood the watch. While some of us lay about our bunks at night, this sailor stood the watch.
“While others of us were attending school, this sailor stood the watch.
“This sailor looked ashore and saw his family, often needing his guidance, but he knew he must stay, because he had the watch.
“For 20 years he has stood the watch, so that we and our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly, in safety knowing that a sailor stood the watch.
“Today; we are here to say the watch stands relieved. Relieved by those you led, guided and trained.
Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer DeSmet is married to the former Megan Mercer. They have two children, Kai, age 15, and Zoe, age 13.