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Saturday, Nov 24 2012 12:05 AM

Hometown Hero: Matthew Johnson

Compiled by Emily Claffy

Age: 22

Assignment: Patrol Squadron Eight

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Mathew Johnson, Hometown Hero

Matthew Johnson, Hometown Hero

Stationed: Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla.

I have been in the military for: 3 1/2 years

Why I decided to join: I wanted to better my life. I was seeking a solid direction and career path, which the Navy has provided me. I also wanted an opportunity to experience different parts of the world. I have been fortunate enough to experience different cuisines, ways of life and traditional customs in the different places where I have been deployed.

Why I continue to serve: I love my job, and what I do for my country. I love to fly, and all other aspects of what my job entails. I recently earned my wings and am now a Naval air crew warfare specialist. I was an electronic warfare operator on a P-3C aircraft -- a radar operator that employs other sensors in a multi-role environment including anti-submarine warfare surveillance and reconnaissance, and search and rescue.

Valuable advice I have learned while in the military: Everything comes with a price. Things that are important are always worth working for. It has taken almost three years to complete my training from start to finish, with countless hours studying, preparing and training for different situations that may arise while performing my duties.

What I like most about my job: I love to fly.

I have been deployed to: South Asia, Bahrain, Guam, and Okinawa and Misawa, Japan. While I have never been stationed at any of the locations, our deployments usually ran about six months.

What I learned during my deployments: I learned that even though communicating back home is difficult, you'll always find a way. I love talking to my wife and son even though it is difficult to watch him grow up so quickly. I talk with my grandparents and parents, but not as frequently as I would like to, or should for that matter.

What I miss most about Bakersfield: I have family that I miss in Bakersfield, but I also miss my wife, Lindsey, and my son, Tucker, back home in Jacksonville, Fla.

My favorite activity to do while I'm home is: I miss those lazy days on the couch with my wife watching sports.

I stay connected with friends and family by: Facebook, email and FaceTime are all great ways to stay in touch while I'm away.

My greatest military accomplishment so far is: Earning my gold "aircrew wings" warfare device.

This year, I would like to accomplish: I would love to go back to school and finish earning an associate or bachelor's degree, although I am currently undecided in what course of study to pursue.

When I return home: The first thing I will do when I step off that plane is hug my wife and new baby and kiss them both. Those are the moments you just want to last forever.

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