SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — San Angelo native and Petty Officer 3rd Class, Ethan Rodriguez, serves on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower alongside over 5,000 other sailors.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ethan Rodriguez Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class
Jerome Fjeld, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Rodriguez graduated from Wall High School in 2020 and joined the Navy, attributing some of his success to his hometown in an interview with Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Williams, Navy Office of Community Outreach.

“My hometown is kind of like the Wild West, with lots of farmland and folks with a lot of personality who are also really hard-working, blue-collar kind of people,” said Rodriguez. “The same could be said for the Navy because it’s composed of people with different backgrounds and most with a really strong work ethic.”

Today, Rodriguez serves as an electrician’s mate (nuclear).

“When I decided to join the Navy, I was working as a welder and was unsure where to go in life, thinking the only other option was college,” said Rodriguez. “Then my grandfather explained all the benefits the Navy offers and a recruiter told me about the nuclear program. With that in mind, I thought I’d try to go for it, somewhat on an impulse. It’s been great so far and I’m grateful for that whim of a decision.”

While having joined the Navy on a whim, Rodriguez couldn’t be prouder of what he is doing today.

“The Navy is a true show of force, reflecting power to counter our adversaries,” said Rodriguez. “Obviously, a strong national defense is important, but even more so is offense, and maintaining a forward presence helps tilt global politics, instill democracy around the world and prevent terrorism.”

Rodriquez’s hard work paid off after 18 weeks, passing four boards and one test he recently qualified as a propulsion electrician. This new achievement allowed him to take on leadership roles and work autonomously to maintain electrical power on board.

“It’s a sense of duty and one that helps me improve myself and learn new things,” said Rodriguez. “That feeling of responsibility forces me to work through problems while navigating through crisis scenarios, all to support my fellow shipmates and the ship.”

So far in Rodriguez’s Navy career he has earned 96 college credits and is only a year shy of a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering.

 “I’m also incredibly thankful for my grandfather, Daniel Derington, aka ‘Papa,’ who opened my eyes to the great benefits of the Navy,” said Rodriguez. “I’m also thankful for my mother, Amanda Rodriguez, because she is always there to provide me with emotional support, and my best friend, Nate Fedor, who is like my second family.”

Rodriguez has now set his sights on qualifying as a load dispatcher and is looking forward to a bright future ahead.