A Hamilton native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jenny Bienaime-Williams is a religious program specialist aboard the carrier stationed in Newport News, Virginia. As a Navy religious program specialist, Bienaime-Williams is the chaplain’s assistant, responsible for community relations, setting up volunteer opportunities for the ship and services for the chapel.
Bienaime-Williams credits success in the Navy to the lessons learned growing up in Hamilton.
“I was taught to stay focused and be humble,” said Bienaime-Williams. “In the Navy, you have to look out for the people around you. There is always a job at a hand and you have to put the mission first. It’s one team, one fight so you have to be humble. Regardless of personal feelings you have to put that aside for the mission.”
Named in honor of the first president of the United States, George Washington, the carrier is longer than three football fields, measuring nearly 1,100 feet. The ship weighs more than 100,000 tons and has a flight deck that is 256 feet wide.
George Washington is currently undergoing a four-year refueling complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding, a process that includes refueling the ship’s nuclear reactors and modernizing more than 2,300 compartments and hundreds of systems. The carrier is expected to leave the shipyard in 2021 and return to Yokosuka, Japan, as the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier.
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Bienaime-Williams is most proud of being promoted to second class petty officer after serving two years.
“I doubt myself a lot,” said Bienaime-Williams. “To see that my chief and my chain of command sees something in me was great. They put me in to get promoted and it’s a good achievement.”
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Bienaime-Williams, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Bienaime-Williams is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My older brother is a chief in the Navy and my uncle is also in the Navy,” said Bienaime-Williams. “They pushed me to join so that I would be a part of a better cause.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Bienaime-Williams and other George Washington 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 giving back to my community, my country and my family,” Bienaime-Williams said. “My parents are from Haiti. My brother and I were born here and all of our family immigrated here. Serving means doing something for them and giving back.”