Kayenta Native Serves on the Cutting Edge of Naval Aviation Modernization

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Electa Berassa, Navy Office of Community Outreach

LEMOORE, Calif. – A 2004 Monument Valley High School graduate and Kayenta, Arizona, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with VFA 147 The Argonauts.

Petty Officer 1st Class Berthia Sullivan works as a yeoman and operates out of Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California.

A Navy yeoman is responsible for everything personnel-related with pay and benefits.

“I have learned a lot about my Navajo culture,” said Sullivan. “I come from a long history of Native American veterans. From a young age my grandmother instilled in us a lot of our culture to make sure we are successful. She sacrificed a lot to get me here, and I don’t ever want to let her down.”

NAS Lemoore is the home of the F-35C Lightning II, which is slated to play a critical role in carrier strike groups’ integrated warfighting packages, according to Navy officials.

F/A-18 Super Hornets, with the ability to carry large payloads of advanced weapons, will continue to provide lethality and flexibility to complement the capabilities of the F-35C Lightning II. This combination of naval aviation assets will provide a mix of strike assets to deliver responsiveness and firepower across the range of military operations, according to Navy officials.

The F-35C will serve as the first stealth platform to operate forward from the sea, extending combat power in all threat environments and reducing the Navy’s reliance on supporting aircraft, tankers and jammers while enabling joint interoperability with newer systems.

The strike fighter wing, headquartered at NAS Lemoore, ensures that each squadron is fully combat-ready to conduct carrier-based, all-weather, attack, fighter and support missions for the Pacific Fleet.

Sullivan has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My grandfather was a WWII Army vet,” said Sullivan. “He helped set the standard before I was even born, and he talked about what it was like to leave the reservation and travel. That fueled my decision to join and get me where I am today.”

Sullivan is also proud of earning the Navy Marine Corp Achievement Medal in December for making sure everyone was taken care of regarding pay, personnel and benefits.

With the CSFWP consisting of more than 20 squadrons, highly specialized jobs range from training new aviators to maintaining airframes and engines, to handling and flying aircraft.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Sullivan and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means making sure there is a future for my girls, and they are as free as I was growing up,” Sullivan added. “I am making sure they get the same opportunities, if not more.”