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Houston Native Excels at U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron in Japan

By Jo-Carolyn Goode

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    May 14, 2024 (Houston Style Magazine) — Chief Petty Officer Fernando Mercader, a proud native of Houston, Texas, exemplifies dedication and resilience as a member of the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, stationed in Japan. Mercader, who graduated from Dulles High School in 2011, has been serving in the Navy for over a decade, bringing honor and distinction to his hometown.

Reflecting on his Houston roots, Mercader acknowledges that the skills and values needed to succeed in the Navy mirror those cultivated in his community. “I learned to keep pushing yourself to improve yourself,” he shares. “Getting comfortable leads to complacency.”

Joining the Navy 11 years ago, Mercader serves as a logistics specialist, a role that demands precision, efficiency, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. “I joined the Navy to better myself, to support my family, and to move my life forward,” he explains.

Members of HSM 77 are responsible for flying and maintaining helicopters capable of executing a diverse range of missions. These include search and rescue operations, air assaults, medical evacuations, supply transport, and anti-submarine warfare. With 90% of global commerce traveling by sea and the security of undersea fiber optic cables crucial to internet connectivity, the U.S. Navy’s mission is vital to global prosperity. Recruiting and retaining talented individuals from America’s diverse communities is essential to maintaining this mission.

Stationed in Japan, Mercader is part of the forward-deployed naval forces committed to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. These forces collaborate with allies and partners to ensure stability and peace. Service members in this region operate under the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which covers the largest area of responsibility in the world.

“We will earn and reinforce the trust and confidence of the American people every day,” said Adm. Lisa Franchetti, chief of naval operations. “Together we will deliver the Navy the nation needs.”

Throughout his service, Mercader has achieved numerous personal and professional milestones. “I am most proud of meeting my wife and making a family,” he shares, highlighting the personal fulfillment he has found alongside his military career.

Mercader takes immense pride in representing the Navy across the globe. “It makes me feel proud to represent the Navy everywhere I go,” he says, embodying the spirit of service and commitment.

Expressing gratitude for the support he received, Mercader acknowledges the pivotal role of his recruiter. “I would like to thank my recruiter,” he adds. “Joining the Navy for me was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing, and my recruiter was very helpful and supportive every step of the way.”

Chief Petty Officer Fernando Mercader’s journey from Houston to Japan is a testament to the strength of character and determination fostered in his hometown. His story inspires others to pursue their ambitions and serve their country with honor and dedication.

For more inspiring stories and updates on local heroes, stay connected with Houston Style Magazine.

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