YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) – When Rebecca Burgos checked on board USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), her experience was different than most new Sailors reporting to their first command; she was also celebrating her 19th birthday.
Burgos, from Milwaukee, Wis., abandoned her plans to continue a career in the police force and decided to join the Navy in June 2012.
When she departed for Navy Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, Burgos arrived as an undesignated seaman. As a result, she was aware that it would require hard work upon entering the Fleet and in determining which rate she wanted to pursue.
For her first two years onboard Chancellorsville, Burgos was unsure of the rate for which she was best suited. However, she learned quickly as a part of the Deck Division and developed a strong work ethic and stellar reputation on the ship.
Burgos took the opportunity to surround herself with mentors to help guide her during her time on Chancellorsville. One of her mentors was Chief Petty Officer Justin Marks, who was actually Burgos’ First Class Petty Officer when she first checked on board.
“From the moment Burgos arrived, she often came to me for advice,” said Marks. “She displayed an inquisitive attitude and a steady drive. These traits have set her up for success, as evidenced by her progress from undesignated seaman to tactical watch stander.”
After completing her time as an undesignated seaman, Burgos chose to strike Operations Specialist (OS). Her hard work proved successful and she was promoted to Petty Officer 3rd Class in September 2013. One year later, she then scored high enough on her exam to earn the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class in September 2014.
Additionally, she also earned the title as Chancellorsville’s Junior Sailor of the Year for Fiscal Year 2014.
It was during this time period that Chancellorsville’s AEGIS Combat System was undergoing an upgrade to AEGIS Baseline 9 in preparation for the homeport shift to Yokosuka, Japan. Burgos became a vital asset during these changing times and was recognized as one of the most versatile and trusted watch standers.
During Chancellorsville’s transit to Japan, Burgos completed all training requirements and qualified as an Air Intercept Controller (AIC). While most newly reporting OS's begin their raining focused on Surface warfare operations, Burgos was drawn to the fast paced action of Air Warfare.
Chancellorsville served as Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5’s Air and Missile Defense Commander (AMDC) for 18 months and during this time, Burgos was exposed to training events and participated in exercises that enabled her to advance swiftly from a level 0 to level 2 AIC.
Upon arriving in Japan, she was taught the fundamentals of other Air Warfare watches. During Chancellorsville’s patrols with CSG 5, Burgos’ watch standing was vital in de-conflicting airspace to ensure that CSG 5 and all air assets safely transited throughout their various missions. She accumulated more than one hundred hours of mishap-free air control and support for the strike group and executed four, live air-to-air intercepts.
Burgos’ Senior Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Erik Thomes, said, “[Burgos] is a great example of establishing a goal, laying out a plan to meet it, and then putting in hard work and dedication. Her preparation for the AIC Basic Course of Instruction, completion of the required syllabi for controller development, and interest in Air Warfare has led her to be one of the top Air Intercept Controllers in Seventh Fleet."
Burgos initially only planned to serve one tour in the Navy, but her desire to qualify as an AIC Supervisor and train future Air Controllers has driven her to stay in the Navy.
Chancellorsville is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.