NORFOLK, Va. -- An Aransas Pass, Texas, native and Aransas Pass High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason.
Ensign Robert Olivarez is a surface warfare officer aboard the destroyer operating out of the Navy's largest base. A Navy surface warfare officer is responsible for driving the ship and managing sailors.
"My job has taught me to always have a backup plan for the unexpected," Olivarez said.
More than 300 sailors serve aboard the ship, and their jobs are highly specialized. 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.
Navy guided-missile destroyers like USS Mason are multi-mission ships that can operate independently or as part of a larger group of ships at sea. They are equipped with tomahawk missiles, torpedoes, guns and a phalanx close-in weapons system.
Olivarez has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.
"The military, for me, is a family business," Olivarez said. "The Navy has taught me to manage time better."
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy's most relied-upon assets, Olivarez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
"The best part of being on this ship is getting along with everyone in this operational climate," Olivarez said.