Southside native serves on one of world’s largest warships

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patricia Rodriguez, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Mattingly, a native of Indianapolis, serves the U.S. Navy aboard one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

Mattingly joined the Navy one year ago. Today, Mattingly serves as a mass communication specialist.

“I joined the Navy to gain the education benefits to further my future civilian career,” said Mattingly.

Growing up in Indianapolis, Mattingly attended Perry Meridian High School and graduated in 2020. Today, Mattingly relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Indianapolis to succeed in the military.

“I learned to enjoy what you have; everything is based on perception,” said Mattingly. “There’s always good days and bad days and you learn to embrace the good.”

These lessons have helped Mattingly while serving in the Navy.

Aircraft carriers provide unique capabilities and survivability. They are a powerful exhibition of the American Navy’s legacy of innovation, technological evolution and maritime dominance, according to Navy officials.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) represents the first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s. The ship is engineered to support new technologies and a modern air wing essential to deterring and defeating near-peer adversaries in a complex maritime environment. Ford delivers a significant increase in sortie generation rate, approximately three times more electrical generation capacity, and a $4 billion reduction in total life-cycle cost per ship, when compared to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Once deployed, the Ford-class will serve as the centerpiece of strike group operations through the 21st century, supporting a host of evolving national strategic objectives. When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land from FORD’s state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG). With nearly 5,000 sailors serving aboard, Ford is a self-contained mobile airport.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Mattingly. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Manvir Gill)

Aircraft carriers are often the first response to a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans. Carrier strike groups have the unique advantage of mobility, making them far more strategically advantageous than fixed-site bases. No other weapon system can deploy and operate forward with a full-sized, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s speed, endurance, agility and the combat capability of its air wing.

“I could not be more proud of our sailors; this crew displayed a phenomenal amount of resiliency and proficiency during each phase of our operational development,” said Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, Ford’s commanding officer. “The crew’s efforts are what make Warship 78 so great, and I can’t wait to be a part of what this mighty warship and her crew achieve in 2022.”

Since USS Langley’s commissioning 100 years ago, the nation’s aircraft carriers, such as Ford, and embarked carrier air wings have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and maintained enduring commitments worldwide. Gerald R. Ford represents a generational leap in the aircraft carrier’s capacity to project power on a global scale.

“The aircraft carrier is our U.S. Navy’s centerpiece, our flagship, and a constant reminder to the rest of the world of our enduring maritime presence and influence,” said Rear Arm. James P. Downey, USN, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Aircraft Carriers. “These ships touch every part of our Navy’s mission to project power, ensure sea control and deter our adversaries.”

Serving in the Navy means Mattingly 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 because it helps secure trade routes and with humanitarian efforts,” said Mattingly.

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.

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

“I went through the aircrew program; I was very proud to finish that,” said Mattingly. “Part of that is Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school. It prepares you for being captured by a hostile force, so a simulated prisoner of war.”

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

“The Navy means being a part of a community,” added Mattingly. “Getting recognized for getting people recognized and helping to shape the Navy’s history.”