Bothell native serves in Pearl Harbor

A Bothell native and 2010 Bothell High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb Branum, an operations specialist, is serving where U.S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters is located.

As an operations specialist, Branum is responsible for monitoring the radar, controlling aircraft and acting as a general naval message writer.

“Growing up, I knew I wanted to get out into the world,” said Branum in a press release. “It is important to be responsible while serving the country.”

According to Navy officials, the U.S. Pacific Fleet is the world’s largest fleet command, encompassing 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean.

Being stationed in Pearl Harbor, often referred to as the gateway to the Pacific in defense circles, means that Branum is serving in a part of the world that is taking on new importance in America’s national defense strategy.

“Our sailors in Pearl Harbor are doing an excellent job at warfighting and supporting the warfighter,” said Cmdr. Hurd, chief staff officer of the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in a press release. “Historically, Pearl Harbor is a symbolic base of sacrifice and resiliency. Today, on every Navy ship and shore facility’s flag pole, the First Navy Jack, ‘Don’t Tread on Me,’ flies reminding sailors to move forward and build on the history and legacy of this country and the U.S. Navy.”

The Navy has been pivotal in helping maintain peace and stability in the Pacific region for decades, according to Navy officials. The Pacific is home to more than 50 percent of the world’s population, many of the world’s largest and smallest economies, several of the world’s largest militaries, and many U.S. allies.

The Navy has plans, by 2020, to base approximately 60 percent of its ships and aircraft in the region. Officials say the Navy will also provide its most advanced warfighting platforms to the region, including missile defense-capable ships; submarines; reconnaissance aircraft; and its newest surface warfare ships, including all of the Navy’s new stealth destroyers.

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

“My father and grandfather were both Navy,” said Branum in a press release. “My dad gave me some advice in joining. I feel like I have made a good decision and it gives me sense of pride.”

Branum’s proudest accomplishment was earning Flag Letter of Commendation for organizing a holiday party for the command of 80 people.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Branum and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I have a sense of pride in serving my country and responsibility to my country,” added Branum in a press release.

Press release courtesy of chief mass communication specialist Erica R Gardner, Navy Office of Community Outreach