China Grove native serves aboard U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 3, 2024

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Osborne
Navy Office of Community Outreach
NORFOLK, Virginia. — Seaman Erin Purvis, a native of China Grove, serves aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.
Purvis graduated from Jesse C. Carson High School in 2020.

The skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in China Grove.

“My father always told me that hard work pays off and now that I’m on my own, I understand what he meant,” said Purvis. “Last month, I got my first apartment and I love it.”

Purvis joined the Navy 18 months ago. Today, Purvis serves as a quartermaster.

“I joined the Navy to get motivated in life,” said Purvis. “Before, I was really struggling to stay focused in school. I also wanted a challenge and I knew the Navy could provide that. Lastly, I wanted to make my family proud in a different way than just going to college.”

The crew recently completed an eight-month deployment, which was the first deployment for the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier.The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group was extended 76 days following the outbreak of conflict in Israel and operated in the Mediterranean Sea to deter further escalation and support Israel in its right to self-defense.

While in the Mediterranean, the carrier strike group participated in and supported numerous multinational exercises and vigilance activities to increase NATO capability and deter aggression in the region. The carrier visited ports in Croatia, Greece, Italy, Norway and Turkey. Other ships in the strike group visited Belgium, Cyprus, Montenegro, Spain, and Sweden.

“The Gerald R. Ford is everything our nation hoped it would be, and more. I am so proud of the crew, who breathed life into the world’s most technologically advanced warship and stood the watch in defense of our national interests,” said Capt. Rick Burgess, Gerald R. Ford’s commanding officer. “Though extended, we were the right ship at the right time to answer the call, and our sailors performed admirably. Ford sailors honored our namesake’s legacies of hard work, integrity and courage.”

In 239 days underway, the ship’s crew conducted 43 underway replenishments, logged more than 17,826 flight hours and 10,396 sorties, sailed more than 83,476 nautical miles, and safely transferred 20.7 million gallons of fuel with zero mishaps. The Ford crew conducted 33,444 flight deck moves, 3,124 hangar bay aircraft moves, 2,883 aircraft elevator moves, 16,351 aircraft fueling evolutions, and transferred 8,850 pallets of cargo and mail. The Gerald R. Ford culinary team prepared and served 3.1 million meals, which included approximately 48,000 dozen eggs, 24,000 gallons of milk, 131,000 hamburgers, 367,000 pounds of chicken, and Gerald R. Ford’s favorite, 79,000 chocolate chip cookies.

With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to recruiting and retaining talented people from across the rich fabric of America.

Purvis serves a Navy that operates far forward, around the world and around the clock, promoting the nation’s prosperity and security.

“We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day,” said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations. “Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.”

Purvis has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“Making it through a challenging deployment in 2023 is something I am very proud of,” said Purvis. “Family is a big thing to me and I’d never been away from them for that long, so sticking with it and succeeding proved something to myself.”

Purvis can take pride in serving America through military service.

“It means everything to serve in the Navy,” said Purvis. “I’ve been able to do so much for my life that I never thought I would be able to do.”

Purvis is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I have to thank my father who is the biggest inspiration in my life,” added Purvis. “There was a time when he was worried that I wouldn’t make it in the Navy, but when he saw me graduate boot camp he was filled with pride and I want to continue making him proud.”