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Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Cari McPheeters serves with U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28

A 2014 Rex Putnam High School graduate and Milwaukie-area native said it was rewarding to be part of the team responsible for getting aircraft ready to leave for the Hurricane Florence disaster relief efforts.

PHOTO BY GARY WARD - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Cari McPheeters is an aviation structural mechanic serving with HSC 28, known as the Dragon Whales.Serving with the U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 in Norfolk, Virginia, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Cari McPheeters is responsible for flight controls, hydraulics and the structure of the aircraft as an aviation structural mechanic.

"My favorite part about my job is that every day there is something new to work on," McPheeters said.

McPheeters credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in the Milwaukie area.

"Growing up I learned the importance of teamwork and the value of a good work ethic," McPheeters said. "We have a large workload every day, and making sure we're performing as a team is important."

McPheeters' squadron consists of 14 aircraft, 267 enlisted sailors and 51 officers. At sea, they provide a vital supply of seaborne vessels by helicopter; crucial passenger, mail and internal cargo transport; and continuous search-and-rescue operations.

McPheeters is most proud of earning a surface warfare qualification through earning a promotion to petty officer second class.

"I studied hard for three months during deployment, and it was a good feeling passing the board and getting that qualification," McPheeters said.

McPheeters added that serving in the Navy means carrying on a family tradition as well as doing something new: "My grandfather served during the Korean War as an aviation storekeeper, and it gives me a feeling of pride to continue that legacy."

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