Norwalk man talks about life on a Navy supercarrier

PEARL HARBOR – A 2009 Norwalk Adult School graduate and Norwalk native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Thomas Kozlowski

Thomas Kozlowski

Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Kozlowski is a hull maintenance technician aboard USS Carl Vinson, currently operating out of San Diego. 

A Navy hull maintenance technician is responsible for welding pipes and fittings around the ship, and fabricating structures. 

Kozlowski applies the lessons learned from Norwalk to working in the Navy. 

“Having the drive to succeed which I learned from my hometown has helped me in the Navy,” said Kozlowski. "I always try to do better." 

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971. 

The theme of RIMPAC 2018 is Capable, Adaptive, Partners. The participating nations and forces exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious, counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations. 

“I'm most looking forward to being able to tour ships from the different participating nations, and experiencing their culture,” said Kozlowski. 

This is the first time Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as sea combat commander and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position. 

“I'm most proud of completing the Navy Dive School,” said Kozlowski. "It was the biggest achievement of my Naval career.” 

Twenty-six nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year's exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. 

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Kozlowski and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs. 

“The Navy has shown me that I'm not scared of anything,” said Kozlowski. “Serving in the Navy for me means being a part of a greater cause. I get to pave the way for the future of the Navy."

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown, Navy Office of Community Outreach