Doing her duty

By James Green – Special to The Garden Island

SAN DIEGO – A 2003 Kauai High School graduate and Lihue native is serving aboard USS Somerset (LPD 25), one of the world’s most modern, networked, survivable, and transformational platforms.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Courtney Doliente is a interior communications electrician aboard the San Diego-based ship, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, that is longer than two football fields at nearly 684 feet.

The ship is 105 feet wide and weighs more than  25,000 tons. Four diesel engines can push the ship through the water at more than 24 mph. Like her sister ships, USS New York and Arlington, USS Somerset is named in commemoration of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The name honors the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93. 

“Every day is a constant reminder of that day,” said Doliente. “The crew and passengers of flight 93 carried themselves with pride and we strive to uphold that pride in everything we do.”

The 29-year-old said she is learning about herself as a leader, sailor and a person. She added she is excited to be in the Navy, and serving aboard Somerset. She also said she is proud of the work she is doing as part of the Somerset’s 361-member crew, protecting America on the world’s oceans.

“I am happy to part of this crew,” Doliente explained. “Being in the Navy you develop a bond with the people you serve with. It’s a bond that isn’t easily broken and can last a lifetime.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS Somerset. About 28 officers, 333 enlisted men and women and three Marines make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines.

Another 700-800 or so form the Embarked Landing Force, the Marines and their equipment.

“My time in the Navy has been well spent,” said Doliente. “I have had the opportunity to see places I never thought I would, and at the same time I have paved a path for me to get an education and invest in my future.”

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