Baldwin Native Supports Navy’s “Take Charge And Move Out” Mission

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A Baldwin native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission at Strategic Communications Wing One (STRATCOMMWING ONE). Its TACAMO (“Take Charge and Move Out”) mission provides airborne communication links to nuclear missile units of U.S. Strategic Command.
 
Lt. John Trofemuk / Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
Anna-Liesa Hussey, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Lt. John Trofemuk, a 2008 Baldwin Senior High School graduate and 2012 Molloy University (formerly Molloy College) graduate, joined the Navy six years ago.

“I was volunteering as an EMT and firefighter and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next,” said Trofemuk. “I knew I wanted to get a sense of community and purpose from my work. One of the firefighters I was working with was a retired Navy captain. He told me he thought I’d be good in the Navy, so I listened and went to a recruiter. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I took the entry exam and qualified to be a pilot. The rest is history, and I love it. Since joining, I’ve felt nothing but purpose and that what I am doing matters.”

Trofemuk uses skills and values similar to those found in Baldwin to succeed in the Navy.

“My hometown taught me to never give up,” said Trofemuk. “We didn’t have all the money in the world, but I was taught to make what I wanted happen. That led me to my career in the Navy.”

The Navy’s presence aboard an Air Force base in the middle of America may seem like an odd location given its distance from any ocean; however, the central location allows for the deployment of aircraft to both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico on a moment’s notice. This quick response is key to the success of the nuclear deterrence mission.

The Navy command consists of a Wing staff, the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, and three Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons: The “Ironmen” of VQ 3, the “Shadows” of VQ 4 and the “Roughnecks” of VQ 7.

Trofemuk serves with VQ 7.

“My favorite thing about my job is getting to fly,” said Trofemuk. “That’s not something most people can say they do at work.”

STRATCOMMWING One employs more than 1,300 active-duty sailors and 100 contractors to provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training and logistic support for the Boeing E-6 Mercury aircraft fleet, an airborne command post and communications relay based on the Boeing 707.

Their mission stems from the original 1961 Cold War order known as ‘Take Charge and Move Out!’ Adapted as TACAMO and now the command’s nickname, the men and women of TACAMO continue to provide a survivable communication link between national decision makers and the nation’s nuclear weapons.

The commander-in-chief issues orders to members of the military who operate nuclear weapons aboard submarines, aircraft or in land-based missile silos. Sailors aboard TACAMO E-6 Mercury aircraft provide the one-of-a-kind and most-survivable communication needed for this critical mission.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Serving in the Navy means Trofemuk is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy is a worldwide presence,” said Trofemuk. “We can be anywhere at a moment’s notice. Not only are we a show of force, but we help with humanitarian efforts. A huge example of that is the Navy helping during the pandemic by turning our ships into hospitals. It’s nice to say we are part of an organization that does so much good.”

Trofemuk and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“My proudest accomplishment in the Navy is qualifying as a flight instructor,” said Trofemuk. “It all goes back to me wanting to help people. That’s what I get to do every single day.”

As Trofemuk and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“To me, serving in the Navy means getting to help others succeed,” added Trofemuk. “I get to make a living for myself while contributing to something larger than myself. The stuff we do impacts worldwide politics. It’s an honor to be a part of that.”

 
By Stephanie Fox, Navy Office of Community Outreach
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