NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Aug. 7, 2019) Quartermaster 2nd Class Zuri Hodge, from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) navigation department, talks about her growth being from a small island in this week’s edition of WARSHIP78. Ford is currently undergoing its post-shakedown availability at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Liz Thompson)
I’m KO2 Zuri Hodge and I joined the Navy from the U.S. Virgin Islands. I came from an island that’s only 32 square miles. Where everyone knows everyone and everyone’s grandparents. There’s only so much opportunities for growth change, perspective or difference, coming from such a small island. With that being said, being in the Navy has broadened my horizons. It’s also broaden my spectrum, because of all the people I’ve met from so many different places and so many different backgrounds. So far it continues to challenge me by putting me in the position that I am. As Navigation Departmental LPO, I have to learn each person’s background and culture to learn how to effectively lead them. My job day-to-day is helping first-term sailors on a Ford-class ship learn their jobs and how we do it here. On the Ford-class ship we do a lot of things differently than the rest of the fleet. So, it’s my job to help train and mold my sailors. Coming from such a small-knit community, I’ve learned to be a mentor more than just a teacher and that seemed to help me, more as a leader and my tribute service. If I never left the Virgin Islands and joined the Navy, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be the leader that I am today and help so many people. I’m proud to be from the Virgin Islands and the background that it has given me. I’m also proud to bring that to the Navy and my poor family. I’m Quartermaster 2nd Class, Zuri Hodge and we are Warship 78.