Story and photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Gabriel Owens, USS New Orleans (LPD 18) Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - - Another beautiful San Diego afternoon, another reenlistment on the flight deck of USS New Orleans (LPD 18). Damage Controllman 2nd Class (SW) Hazel Tayag was reenlisting for four more years. However, her reenlisting officer wasn’t anyone recognized by her division.
Tayag decided that for her first reenlistment, she would make it special: have her father read her the oath.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rodolfo Tayag had just started retirement leave from his 30-year career in the Navy after leaving the USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The former Engineman Chief was surprised and honored when his daughter called and asked him to do the honors.
“It’s not something you get to do every day,” said the warrant. “It’s a unique opportunity and I was so happy to be able to do it.”
Despite growing up a “Navy brat,” moving from duty station to duty station, the 27-year-old Tayag didn’t initially envision herself following in her father’s footsteps. Her first ambitions were for college.
“While I was going to college, it didn’t seem like something that interested me at the time,” she said. “Especially since my siblings and I are so close in age, I knew soon enough my parents would be paying for college for the three of us which would be way too expensive.
“So I decided to join after two years of college,” Tayag said. “I liked what the Navy had to offer as far as education benefits, and the military runs deep through my family. I knew that joining would make my parents really proud of me.”
Her father was skeptical of her joining at first. “I asked her if it was something she really wanted to do,” he said. “She was very adamant about going in.
“I asked her what rate she picked and she said ‘DCman.’ I told her ‘that’s an engineering rate, like me. You know we work really long hours?’” he laughed.
But it wasn’t a new lifestyle for the San Diego native. “Being a dependent, I moved from state to state and country to country, learning different cultures and lifestyles.” said Tayag, citing this as a particular reason why she joined.
With her mother and two brothers watching alongside her division and chain of command, Hazel Tayag made the commitment to serve honorably for four more years as her dad read her the oath.
“It’s one of the proudest things I’ve ever done,” said the warrant officer.
New Orleans is a San Antonio-class ship designed and built to fight. Its warfighting capabilities include a state-of-the-art command and control suite, substantially increased vehicle lift capacity, a large flight deck, and advanced ship survivability features that enhance its ability to operate in the unforgiving littoral environment.
New Orleans provides each naval expeditionary force with greatly enhanced operational flexibility. The ship normally operates as part of an Amphibious Task Force - the "workhorse" of a three-ship Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG) - organized to accomplish a broad range of military objectives; or as an element of a "Split-ARG" that has the ship detached and operating as a single ship, supporting lower-risk operations. This ship's mission flexibility fully expands the ARGs area of influence by providing an improved capability to cover multiple areas of responsibility, while responding to several crises simultaneously.