A Letter from LTJG Westin Marele Giles, U.S. Navy

Greetings DoD STARBASE!

This is LTJG Westin Marele Giles. While I am several years removed from having attended the DoD STARBASE Program, I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had in 2003 to attend the Navy’s “first” DoD STARBASE Atlantis Academy in Pensacola, Florida which inspired my interest in Naval Science. Since graduating from Florida A&M University and being Commissioned into the United States Navy in December 2013, I am currently executing my duties and responsibilities as a Naval Officer in the greatest Navy in the world.

After completing the Basic Division Officer Course in April 2014, I began a two-year forward deployment aboard the USS SHILOH in Yokosuka, Japan. During this deployment, I served as the Gunnery Officer and later as the Electrical Officer. I participated in multiple patrols and Ports of Call in the Seventh Fleet spanning across seven countries from Singapore to Guam. While the SHILOH was in dry-dock, I had the opportunity to serve aboard the USS FITZGERALD that allowed me to complete my required studies and experiences without interruption. While there, I successfully completed all of the requirements and earned my designation as a Surface Warfare Officer. I also received a promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade. Overall, I learned a lot about our Navy and our mission’s impact.

Each day is a learning experience that I welcome in my commitment to become the best Naval Officer I can be. In my nearly three years in the Navy, I have had the privilege to participate in joint operations with foreign navies and have encountered people from all walks of life. In addition to the talented men and women I have had the honor to serve with, I was fortunate enough to meet the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations, two of the most senior leaders of this great Navy, during their visits to Yokosuka. It has been a privilege to learn something from them all.

In June 2016, I completed my deployment aboard the USS SHILOH and left Japan. I learned a lot about U.S. Navy Operations and had experiences that serve as the foundation to my development as a Naval Officer. My new assignment is to report as the Auxiliaries Officer on the USS RALPH JOHNSON, named after Vietnam-era Marine and Medal of Honor recipient Ralph Johnson. Once commissioned, the USS RALPH JOHNSON will be the 30th active-duty Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer in the fleet. As a member of the Pre-Commissioning Unit, I am receiving training in preparation for the 2017 commissioning of the USS RALPH JOHNSON. I am honored to have been selected for this assignment and my growth and development continues. In preparation for my second Division Officer tour, I recently graduated from the Advanced Division Officer Course and the AUXO/ELECTRO Course held at the Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island. I am looking forward to continuing my journey aboard the USS RALPH JOHNSON in its future homeport at Naval Station Everett, Washington.

In my life’s educational experiences, I always see the DoD STARBASE program as a significant plank in my foundation. It is my hope that future fifth graders have the same opportunity that I had to attend a DoD STARBASE program.

LTJG Westin Marele Giles