By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Coffer
Retiring from the military is an accomplishment that signifies a career coming to an end, but also a continued calling to serve one’s country. Aboard the expeditionary sea base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), currently stationed in U.S. Sixth Fleet, there is one Sailor who is ready to hang up his Dixie cup.
Yeoman 1st Class Jordan McCurley, from Lancaster, South Carolina, joined the U.S. Navy on July 1st, 1999 and has never lost sight of one of his most fundamental beliefs; everyone is important.
“The first thing a Sailor has to understand is that every rate is very important and plays a vital role regardless of pay grade,” McCurley said. “The E-5 and below actually run the ship while the E-6 and above mentor and provide leadership to help support the Sailor and mission at hand.”
As McCurley prepares for the next chapter of his life, he is ready to spend more time with his family.
“I’m looking forward to spending time with my wife and daughter, before she graduates from high school,” McCurley said. “My family understands the sacrifice and what it takes to serve in the military. [They] know it’s time [for me] to give back to my family and to catch up and make some lasting memories that we can cherish.”
The friendships built in the military are some of the closest relationships that a Sailor might have in life and it can be emotional when it’s time to move on.
“Without a second thought, I’m going to miss the camaraderie. I have made not only friends but an addition to my family,” McCurley said. “A family of brothers and sisters that I know when the time comes would have my back and put themselves in harm’s way to protect me.”
McCurley has served at over six commands throughout his career but there is one that sticks out as being the most rewarding.
“I was a Recruit Division Commander at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois and I pushed eight divisions through boot camp,” McCurley said. “To know that people were charged to my care and it was my responsibility to guide, train and mentor roughly 900 civilians to become a vital functional part of the world’s finest Navy was probably the most impactful thing I have done.”
Although feeling a bit of sadness as he reflected on his last days in the Navy, he was proud of what he’s accomplished and enjoyed every bit of his career.
“My career has flown by and I will be forever grateful to not only following in my grandfather’s footsteps, but to have the opportunity to serve in the world’s finest Navy,” McCurley said. “I would do it all over again!”
Hershel “Woody” Williams is homeported in Souda Bay, Greece, and conducts AFRICOM missions in the Mediterranean and the waters around East, South, and West Africa to include the Gulf of Guinea, operating with regional partners. The ship will be a long-term presence assigned to the AFRICOM mission set and will support security cooperation missions and operations in and around the African continent.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.