Military Highlight of Jeanerette native - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Military Highlight of Jeanerette native

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Seaman Cayson Bernard Seaman Cayson Bernard

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Heidi McCormick, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Isaiah Sellers

SAN DIEGO – A 2014 Pensacola High School graduate and Jeanerette, Louisiana, native is currently serving aboard the largest amphibious warship in the Navy.

Seaman Cayson Bernard is an information systems technician serving aboard USS Boxer, based in San Diego.

As a Navy information technician, Bernard is responsible for a broad range of responsibilities including network administration, database management and computer hardware and software implementation.

“Serving aboard the Boxer, I’ve learned the importance of having a good work ethic and to not forget where you came from,” Bernard said.

Boxer is an amphibious assault ship that resembles a small aircraft carrier. Approximately 3,000 Sailors and Marines serve aboard the ship and their jobs are highly specialized, requiring both dedication and skill. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry along with a multitude of other assignments that keep the ship mission-ready at all times, according to Navy officials.

Boxer is famous for playing a critical role in the rescue mission of Capt. Richard Phillips on April 12, 2009. U.S. Navy SEALS and other special operations forces from USS Bainbridge rescued Phillips who was later transferred to Boxer for medical evaluation and care. This successful rescue mission was portrayed in the 2013 movie, “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks, and featuring crewmembers from the Boxer.

The ship is armed with two semi-active radar-guided NATO Sea Sparrow missile systems for anti-air warfare protection, two rolling airframe missile systems and two Phalanx close-in weapon-system mounts to counter threats from low-flying aircraft and close-in small craft.

It’s 844 feet long and 106 feet wide and weighs nearly 45,000 tons, with two gas turbine engines that push the ship through water at more than 22 knots.

As a member of the U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship, Bernard is proud to be part of the most capable amphibious force in the world.

Bernard’s proudest accomplishment was earning his warfare pin as a seaman and showcasing his shipboard qualifications while still at a very junior rank.

“I’m glad that I had what it takes to earn my pin, but I’m mostly proud that serving in the Navy gives me the means to care for my daughter,” said Bernard.

"The success of our Surface Force ships is measured by our ability to provide Fleet Commanders with combat naval power at sea and to project that power ashore where and when it matters," said Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces.  "It's hard work to ready ships for combat operations at sea - it takes the talent of an entire crew working well together.  I'm extremely proud of the each and every surface warrior's contributions to the Navy's enduring mission of protecting and defending America, at home and around the world."

Bernard has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“I have an aunt and a cousin who served,” Bernard said. “We all came from the same place, a small hometown, and I knew that if they made it out here, then I could too.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Bernard and other Boxer sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

"The Navy keeps me disciplined and able to make good decisions, a career choice that will benefit my future,” said Bernard.

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