By Stephanie Fox, Navy Office of Community Outreach

NORFOLK, Va. – Lt. Cmdr. Charles Marshall, a native of Clermont, Florida, serves aboard the Navy’s newest warship operating out of Norfolk, Virginia. USS Fort Lauderdale, an amphibious transport dock ship, was commissioned July 30 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“If there is one thing that history has shown us from the days of antiquity it is that the stakes of the competition for control of the seas are high and for our part, USS Fort Lauderdale stands ready to deliver on any day, and at any time,” said Capt. James Quaresimo, the ship’s commanding officer. “And those that may wish to challenge us – they should pause. For we are equipped with America’s unstoppable secret weapon that our enemies will never be able to duplicate and that is the fierce, dedicated and unstoppable, men and women of the United States Navy and Marine Corps!”

Marshall joined the Navy 12 years ago.

“I joined the Navy because I wanted to serve my country,” said Marshall. “I have definitely accomplished what I set out to do when I joined. I’ve had some very meaningful moments.”

Growing up in Clermont, Marshall attended East Ridge High School and graduated in 2004. 

“Hello to all the Marshalls in Clermont,” said Marshall. “Love and miss you guys.”

Marshall later went on to earn a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida in 2009.

“Go Gators,” said Marshall.

Today, Marshall relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Clermont to succeed in the military.

“My hometown taught me the value of hard work, dedication and finding enjoyment in the work I do,” said Marshall. “As with any job, there are going to be times when you have bad days in the Navy, but if you can look at the big picture and remember why you do what you do, the hard work and dedication can allow you to find joy in even the toughest of times.”

Amphibious transport dock ships are warships used to transport and land Marines, their equipment, and supplies by embarked Landing Craft Air Cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles augmented by helicopters or vertical take-off and landing aircraft. These ships support amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions and serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious operations. 

Serving in the Navy means Marshall is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy’s role in the National Defense Strategy is more than just power projection,” said Marshall. “It’s control of maritime commons, which allows us to keep free sea lanes. People may not know that a lot of the items they have at home are brought to the U.S. through contested waters. The Navy allows those resources to reach our shores.”

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 the importance of accelerating America’s advantage at sea.

“Maintaining the world’s best Navy is an investment in the security and prosperity of the United States, as well as the stability of our world,” said Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The U.S. Navy—forward deployed and integrated with all elements of national power—deters conflict, strengthens our alliances and partnerships, and guarantees free and open access to the world’s oceans. As the United States responds to the security environment through integrated deterrence, our Navy must continue to deploy forward and campaign with a ready, capable, combat-credible fleet.”

Sailors have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

Marshall is proud to have coordinated with a British helicopter squadron to save someone’s life in the middle of the Gold of Oman and to have assisted with the rescue of 13 Iranian fishermen whose boat had caught fire at sea.

“My proudest Naval assignment is probably this ship: bringing USS Fort Lauderdale from a hunk of steel to life,” said Marshall. “A ship is very much a living ecosystem of people, and the processes have to begin through the commissioning crew. So, a lot of things on other ships people take for granted, we got to set up for this ship for at least a 40-year life span of operations. I’m specifically proud of being selected as the acting executive officer for five months aboard USS Fort Lauderdale. The captain let me fill in when our executive officer was unavailable. I was acting executive officer when we did our crew shift from Norfolk to Pascagoula, Mississippi, which is where this ship was built. Getting to be the acting executive officer on this ship was eye-opening and very rewarding. The captain told me I did a good job which is always great. I’m very lucky to have been put in the position I was.”

As Marshall and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means protecting our country’s way of life,” added Marshall. “The Navy ensures that we pass down the freedoms afforded to us in the Constitution. We uphold the Constitution and wills of the American people because, ultimately, we are nothing but a proxy to the American people. We’re your neighbors. We’re your friends. We’re not just robots. We’re people who care about the greater good. We sacrifice our time and energy to keep everyone safe.”


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