Thursday, March 22, 2012

USS BLUE RIDGE To Visit PHL with A Filipina Ensign Aboard

Once again the USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19) the command ship for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet is visiting Philippines for a four day goodwill visit on March 23, 2012. The arrival of the US Navy ship will further strengthen ties between the PHL and the US. Moreover, the visit will enable Filipinos and Americans to exchange and enjoy the cultures of both peoples and countries.

Unknown to many, the USS Blue Ridge carries with it some crew with Filipino lineage. In fact, ENS Maria Josefa D. Veloria, a Filipina native born of a Filipino father and mother, will arrive on board the US Navy ship.

Maria Josefa D. Veloria, (Maryjo, or fondly called “Pepay” by her family and relatives) enlisted in the United States Navy as a Logistics Specialist and graduated from Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, ranking first out of 800 Sailors in Military Excellence.

Her first sea tour was onboard the USS BENFOLD (DDG 65) homeported in San Diego, California where she served as Financial Specialist. After which, she was sent to the University of San Diego to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, graduating as a cum laude. In 2010 she extended her studies in Paris, France.

ENS Veloria is currently a Surface Warfare Officer onboard the USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC19) stationed in Yokosuka, Japan where she is managing a division of 40 personnel and is in charge of the ship’s Search and Rescue Program.

Eldest of six children, Maryjo was born June 14, 1986. Living on their own inside a military camp, the family learned to survive without any house helpers, with all the children helping in the household chores, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, ironing the clothes.

When the children migrated to the United States, their independence proved to be very helpful and useful as they lived on their own tending to themselves. According to the mother, Maryjo very much admired the women in uniform, she was very hands-on, she loves order, she loves talking care and looking after her siblings, a very responsible child.

It is a bit intriguing how ENS Veloria joined the Navy along with three of her other siblings, yes, the other four of the six children also joined the US Navy, Maria Christina to be commissioned this May finished at the top of her class, also a Nursing degree holder; Michael Jomari taking up Engineering at the University of San Diego; Gabriel on his 1st year as Cadet in the USNA or United States Naval Academy and a Commandant’s Lister; Maria Luzviminda, currently waiting for her Naval Academy appointment.

Could it be a sign or is it coincidental enough that even their mother’s name, Navie Veloria, resembles that of the branch of military service they belong to? Probably yes.

The children have very different dreams and very different plans for their future until one day they went to the mall and in jest walked in one of the recruitment centers for the United States Armed Forces or USAF. Right then and there they recognized that what they really want for themselves can be given by the USAF, they took the exam, passed it, and enlisted themselves for the United States Armed Forces and joined the United States Navy. Accident, coincidence or perhaps a blessing in disguise? Probably all.

Maryjo wanted to be the best of what she can be and that goal can be achieved by serving in the US Navy, at the same time fulfilling her dreams by serving in the military. In their early life, the mother has established that the children try to look at their father as their hero, their father Brigadier General Mariano Veloria AFP, who belong to PMA Class ‘79 is currently the Brigade Commander of the 53rd Engineering Brigade of the Philippine Army.

The success of ENS Veloria along with her other siblings is an example of how hardwork, dedication, self-discipline, a clear and right mindset can make your dreams come true. Anyone can fulfill their dreams and accomplish a feat like Maryjo. The Filipino youth should learn and inculcate in themselves that nothing in this world is impossible. If you want to make it big, you have to dream big. If these people have made a name and paved the way for their own success in life, so can all of us. Nothing is ever hard for a determined individual who wants success in life. Dream big, fulfill your dreams, and make it happen.

Interview with Mrs. Veloria conducted on:
March 19, 2012
Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers Club (AFPCOC)

Written by:
John Vincent V. Cardenas

Research Team:
ltjg LADY CHATERLY Alvaro-Sumbeling PN
John Ray B. Ramos
John Vincent V. Cardenas