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Meet Paducah Native and Lone Oak Graduate AO3 Hannah Wilson, Serving in the US Navy

Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO)

 Lone Oak residents Alan and Bobbie Wilson's daughter, Hannah, serves the nation aboard the U.S. Navy warship, the USS George Washington, which is stationed at the base located 35 miles south of Tokyo in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship is longer than three football fields and one of only 10 currently operational aircraft carriers in the Navy. A 2008 graduate of Lone Oak School, AO3 Hannah Wilson says she stopped playing varsity tennis after her first two years to focus on enriched and AP studies, a passion for learning she continues today as we learn in our conversation with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Hannah Wilson says she was drawn to the Navy at a young age by listening to her parents talk about military service and hearing stories of her grandparents. Growing up in Paducah, there weren't many females she knew who made the choice to join the military after high school. She thought it'd be an interesting thing to say in her lifetime that she did that.

Wilson felt there might be better opportunities for employment after serving in the Navy. She doesn't mind the water and though the ship isn't the best lifestyle, it's something she's grown to accommodate with. Serving gives her a sense of pride and she enjoys working with people from different backgrounds - not only the United States, but also Kenya, China and Japan.

Since being on board the USS George Washington, Wilson's ports of call have been Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. In South Korea she got to volunteer at one of the nursing homes, where she did some cleaning and sang songs to the senior citizens. It's difficult to get the volunteer work, she says, because the lists fill up pretty quickly from others on the ship trying to do it, too.

For training, Wilson underwent boot camp, where they break you down and build you back up, she says. This included physical activity, daily routine, folding shirts a certain way, making sure your boots were always shined and hair always done up properly. She also underwent educational and physical training. You get your mind set a certain way, she says, making sure you're prepared mindset-wise to go into the Navy.

On the ship, Wilson works on building missiles and bombs. In her training for this, she got to see the broad range of what AO (aviation ordinancemen) can work with. She works in different magazines on the ship, some for bomb builds, others for missiles. They make sure they're ready to go for the squadron and having them sent up to the hangar bay.

Living conditions on the ship are very tight. In the berthing area (or or living area) there are 30 more more women, all the same rank. Wilson says you can't sit in your rack, but she has a "coffin rack" where she can put stuff under where she sleeps and also two smaller lockers. It's a lifestyle you definitely hvae to get adjusted to, she says.

For fresh air, when Wilson's not needed for work in her magazine, she goes in the hangar bay at night or likes to go for a run during the day in the gym on the outside part of the ship where you can see the sun. She tries to make an effort to catch some fresh air before going to work.

Wilson has served for three years and will be out in 2016 unless she decides to re-enlist. Right now, she's not sure. She's thinking about studying for medical - that's where her heart is. College courses are enjoyable, she says, trying to get more time to study. She wants to start a family eventually and have a more traditional lifestyle. She's studying the biology of aging and healthy aging, taking online courses a community college and working to get her health and fitness associates degree. "My mom always pushed me to make sure I pushed myself and take higher education classes," she says.

Wilson's parents live in Lone Oak and she's looking forward to coming home. Her time in Japan is almost up and she should be returning in the summer or fall. Her next station will be out of Washington State, but orders can always change. She'll be at home for a couple of weeks before going to the next station.

Alan and Bobbie Wilson of Paducah talk with their daughter U.S. Navy AO3 Hannah Wilson onboard ship in Yokosuka, Japan, by Skype. Petty Officer Wilson serves the nation as a sailor on the USS George Washington assigned to the Navy's Seventh Fleet, which acts as one of America's first responders in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. While underway, it carries more than 70 jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land on the carrier's 4.5 acre flight deck.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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