NORFOLK (Covering Fort Bend News) – A 2009 B.F. Terry High School graduate and Rosenberg native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Coastal Riverine Squadron 2.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Estrada is a hospital corpsman with the squadron operating out of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
A Navy hospital corpsman is responsible for the health and safety of the crew.
“I enjoy being able to provide medical care to my sailors,” said Estrada. “If our sailors aren’t healthy they can’t complete the mission.”
Estrada credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in his hometown of Rosenberg.
“My hometown taught me to be kind to everyone you meet and hard work will get you far,” said Estrada. “My parents taught me to not be a quitter.”
The men and women of the U.S. Navy’s Coastal Riverine Force provide port and harbor security, high value asset protection and maritime security operations in coastal and inland waterways.
“Serving here is a different platform than what I was used to,” said Estrada. “I came from a boots-on-the-ground and here you get the best of both worlds.”
For two years in a row CRS-2 has won the Navy’s coveted “Battle E” Award, an award that not only recognizes excellence in sustained superior performance in an operational environment, but for being the best squadron in the Coastal Riverine Force. Eligibility for this award demands day-to-day demonstrated excellence in addition to superior achievement during certifications and qualifications conducted throughout the competitive period.
In addition to this achievement, they also won the 2017 Chief of Naval Operations Off Duty Safety Award, a first for any unit under the charge of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
“This squadron’s success is due to the dedication and caliber of its sailors at all levels,” said Cmdr. Joe Droll, commanding officer of CRS-2. “The demands placed on them are high, and they often make sacrifices to meet the mission, whether its training boat crews, security teams, maintainers or operation center watch standers. Through all the challenges they find a way to get the job done.”
Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Estrada is most proud of serving with the Marines in combat.
“Serving with the Marines gave me a sense of being a part a part of a team,” said Estrada. “Everyone has each other’s back.”
While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Estrada has found reward in service.
“The Navy has taught me how to be the voice for junior sailors,” said Estrada. “It has helped me learn leadership and how to stand up for those who can’t.”