Carlos Ramos

Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos Ramos, a 2003 John Muir High School graduate, joined the Navy 17 years ago. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anna-Liesa Hussey)

A Pasadena native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission at Strategic Communications Wing One (STRATCOMMWING ONE). Its TACAMO (“Take Charge and Move Out”) mission provides airborne communication links to nuclear missile units of U.S. Strategic Command.

Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos Ramos, a 2003 John Muir High School graduate, joined the Navy 17 years ago.

“I joined the Navy for education and to see the world,” said Ramos. “I wanted to see change in my life. I was really trying to push myself and see what I could accomplish.”

Ramos uses skills and values similar to those found in Pasadena to succeed in the Navy.

“My hometown taught me the importance of having a community,” Ramos said. 

“In Pasadena, we have a strong sense of community. I’ve been able to take that with me into the Navy and make it, so everyone I work around feels welcomed. No person should be left out.”

The Navy’s presence aboard an Air Force base in the middle of America may seem like an odd location given its distance from any ocean; however, the central location allows for the deployment of aircraft to both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico on a moment’s notice. This quick response is key to the success of the nuclear deterrence mission.

The Navy command consists of a Wing staff, the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, and three Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons: The “Ironmen” of VQ 3, the “Shadows” of VQ 4 and the “Roughnecks” of VQ 7.

Ramos serves as an aviation machinist’s mate with VQ 3.

“My job has longer hours than most, but because of that, I’ve been able to make close relationships with my fellow sailors,” said Ramos. “Being an aviation machinist’s mate is challenging. I found that the time at work has built comradery across my time in the Navy.”

STRATCOMMWING One employs more than 1,300 active-duty sailors and 100 contractors to provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training and logistic support for the Boeing E-6 Mercury aircraft fleet, an airborne command post and communications relay based on the Boeing 707.

Their mission stems from the original 1961 Cold War order known as ‘Take Charge and Move Out!’ Adapted as TACAMO and now the command’s nickname, the men and women of TACAMO continue to provide a survivable communication link between national decision makers and the nation’s nuclear weapons.

The commander-in-chief issues orders to members of the military who operate nuclear weapons aboard submarines, aircraft or in land-based missile silos. Sailors aboard TACAMO E-6 Mercury aircraft provide the one-of-a-kind and most-survivable communication needed for this critical mission.

With more than 90% of all trade traveling by sea, and 95% 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.

Serving in the Navy means Ramos is part of a team 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.

“The Navy is important to the National Defense Strategy because our presence creates a safe environment for our country,” Ramos said.

Ramos and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“My proudest accomplishment is seeing my junior personnel succeed,” Ramos said. “For example, at VQ 4 I supported a petty officer third class for several years and watched him get promoted all the way up to the rank of petty officer first class. I’m proud that I had a hand in that process.”

As Ramos and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“To me, serving in the Navy means opportunity for those who might not have a chance to see and do new things,” added Ramos. “Growing up I didn’t have much, but being in the Navy I now have more than I could think of. I’ve grown more as a person and as an aviation machinist’s mate. I’m grateful for that opportunity.”