JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Lawrenceville native is serving with the U.S. Navy’s cutting-edge maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft squadron in Jacksonville, Florida.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Sergio Montanez, Jr. joined the Navy three years ago. Today, Montanez serves as a mass communication specialist.
“My parents worked hard to raise me ensuring I had the freedom to make a choice about what I wanted to do in life,” said Montanez. “I want to make sure no one interferes with that freedom for others.”
Montanez serves with Patrol Squadron Five, a high-tech maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadron tasked with monitoring the world’s oceans in the state-of-the-art P-8A “Poseidon.”
Growing up in Lawrenceville, Montanez attended Berkmar High School and graduated in 2017. Today, Montanez finds the values in his home county similar to those needed to succeed in the military.
“My father taught me to go above and beyond when it comes to work,” said Montanez. “This is true even when no one is looking; even when I may not think it’s important.”
These lessons have helped Montanez while serving in the Navy supporting the P-8 Poseidon mission.
The P-8 Poseidon mission is to conduct maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence gathering missions. They deploy around the globe to monitor the world’s oceans wherever they are needed.
The P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, is a replacement aircraft for the legacy P-3C “Orion”. According to Navy officials, leveraging the experience and technology of the successful P-3C “Orion” with the needs of the fleet, the P-8A is designed to be combat-capable, and to improve an operator’s ability to efficiently conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Serving in the Navy means Montanez is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our squadron hunts submarines and helps provide aid for lost mariners,” said Montanez. “We provide a watch from above providing critical information to naval assets.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities, and capacity.
“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” said Gilday. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”
There are many accomplishments that come with military service, and Montanez is most proud of meeting his wife through the Navy.
“I’m proud to have someone I can rely on and get through the challenges,” said Montanez. “I’m proud of everything we’ve done together.”
As Montanez and other sailors continue to train, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“I feel like we’re part of a family,” added Montanez. “Everyone is working towards the same goal. We need each other, and when times get tough, we’re there for each other.”