“Before a missile is fired, I am what’s known as ‘Sanity Check’. With headphones, I can hear the orders given and verified for the target to be hit and the type of weapon to be used. This is the fourth and final check that is seen on the screen.
"Then, I push the button to fire the missile.” Zak May is a 22-year-old enlisted Navy man, hailing from Port St. Lucie, Florida. Growing up near the Atlantic, Petty Officer 3rd Class May has always loved the ocean. As a boy he excelled in the Boy Scouts, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout. A graduate of Morningside Academy, he joined the military because he had a “sense of duty.” “I wanted to pay my dues, thought that joining the Navy was the right thing to do, and saw enlisting as a way to take care of the ones I love and care about.” “I chose the Navy over other branches of the military because they provide the best options for transition from military to civilian life after my enlistment is finished. Other young men should consider the Navy.”
Currently May is stationed at the second largest naval base in the United States—San Diego, on the USS Chancellorsville. “USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) is a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser in service in the United States Navy. She is named for the Confederate victory over Union forces under Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.” (US NAVY) The Chancellorsville runs security for aircraft carriers when they are moved and participates in strike group protection.
A part of the Aegis Fire Control program, May was specially trained for his role as a fire control man. He also is a 400 Hertz technician, which too falls under Aegis. In addition, May takes patrol once a week and acts as a firefighter for any emergency response situation. May’s training is being translated into college credits. He is working toward an electrical engineering degree. Training for the Aegis Fire Control program was about one year and ten months long. Based on his ASVAB scores, May was given career choices by the Navy. He chose Aegis. The Navy placed him in “fire control.”
May states that he is still considered a “booter,” Navy slang for “one just arriving from boot camp—seen as enthusiastic and rather naïve.” Perhaps a booter, but not without wisdom. When asked about his own heroism, May quietly and humbly tells of two young men he had befriended during his stint at Great Lakes boot camp. “Each had seemed a little down. I connected with them. Later, each one came to me and thanked me. I had helped them by showing them that they weren’t worthless and that they too had value. Unbeknownst to me, each had been contemplating suicide. They had both gone and sought professional help.” Petty Officer 3rd Class May has spent his young life preparing for this career at sea and has already begun to help save American lives. Truly he is a hometown hero.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Zak May is the son of Chuck and Jeanna Gorsuch who reside in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
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