ATSUGI, Japan - Petty Officer 1st Class Spencer Mathias, a native of Milwaukie, Oregon, serves in the U.S. Navy as a member of a helicopter squadron forward deployed to Japan.
Mathias attended Milwaukie High School and graduated in 2005.
Mathias joined the Navy 13 years ago.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted to have a job that had a higher purpose,” said Mathias.
Today, Mathias serves as a naval aircrewman with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51.
Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those found in Milwaukie.
“Growing up, I worked hard in whatever job I took on,” said Mathias.
"I learned that it takes a lot of people to help you get to the right place."
Members of HSM 51 fly and maintain helicopters for the U.S. Navy. Navy helicopters are able to perform many different missions. Some of the most common operations include search and rescue, air assaults, medical evacuations, supply transport and hunting submarines.
This year commemorates 50 years of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, the first eight women began flight school in Pensacola; one year later six of them, known as "The First Six," earned their “Wings of Gold.” Over the past 50 years, the Navy has expanded its roles for women to lead and serve globally and today our women aviators project power from the sea in every type of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft. Our Nation and our Navy is stronger because of their service.
As a member of the Navy, Mathias is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our adversary nations are right next to us in Japan,” said Mathias. “We are showing presence here, so our adversaries are less aggressive towards other nations in this region. We also make friends with other nation allies, so that in the future, they will not be adversaries.”