Hughes of Orange Park Illustrates ‘Freedom to Work’ on Aircraft Carrier

By Alvin Plexico Navy Office of Community Outreach

NORFOLK, Va. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Juanita Hughes, a native of Orange Park, Florida, serves the United States Navy aboard one of the world’s largest warships, the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77).

Bush was commissioned in 2009 and is completing a pre-deployment work cycle.

“The hard work of our sailors to bring George Herbert Walker Bush back to the operational fleet in 2021 has been exemplary,” said Captain Robert Aguilar, commanding officer of GHWB. “They represent the finest principles of service to mission and nation that our namesake, President George HW Bush embodied.”

Hughes joined the Navy three years ago. Today, Hughes is a logistics specialist.

“When I was preparing to graduate from college, I was looking for opportunities in the navy,” Hughes said. “One of the opportunities that inspired me was the ability to use my degree in an impactful way. Of course, the benefits also motivated me, such as education and healthcare.”

Hughes attended Orange Park High and graduated in 2006. Today, Hughes relies on skills and values ​​similar to those found at Orange Park to succeed in the military.

“You should be nice to people because you don’t know what they’re going through,” Hughes said. “I went to high school in a very diverse field, so it’s a value that is important to me.”

These lessons helped Hughes while he served in the Navy.

Hughes’ service aboard Bush follows the lead of the ship’s namesake, the nation’s 41st President, George HW Bush. Bush is the only US president to have served as a US Navy aviator. During World War II he flew the TBF Avenger in Torpedo Squadron 51 and was stationed aboard the USS San Jacinto. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for a daring bombardment on the island of Chichi Jima.

The vessel bearing Bush’s name is preparing for deployment amid continued strategic competition between the United States and its adversaries. In doing so, the ship and its sailors continue the legacy of service to the nation that United States Navy aircraft carriers have provided for 100 years.

Since the commissioning of the USS Langley 100 years ago on March 20, aircraft carriers and their ability to project American power around the world have been a constant tool in maintaining and enhancing the national security interests of United States and the prosperity of the American people.

Sailors aboard USS George HW Bush, like Hughes, continue to shine a light on the legacy of the carrier fleet and naval aviation by providing national command authority with a flexible and customizable combat capability in as the flagship of a carrier battle group that maintains maritime stability and security in order to provide access, deter aggression, and defend the interests of the United States, allies, and partners.

Serving in the Navy means Hughes is part of a team that takes on new importance in the United States’ focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support national defense strategy.

“Most of the world is water, so we need a strong navy to defend it,” Hughes said.

With more than 90% of all commerce traveling by sea, and 95% of global telephone and Internet traffic carried by fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the America’s prosperity and security are directly linked to a strong and ready navy.

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

“I’m proud when my sailors do well,” Hughes said. “When they win an award or get promoted, it fills me with pride.”

As Hughes and other sailors continue to train and fly missions, they are proud to serve their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy means I will have a positive influence on the sailors who will be called upon to defend our country,” added Hughes.

For up-to-date information on the USS George HW Bush and its sailors, visit the command’s Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also visit its official webpage at

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