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Sayreville native serves aboard floating airport

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Manvir Gill
Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Cote, a native of Sayreville, serves the U.S. Navy aboard one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Cote, a native of Sayreville, serves the U.S. Navy aboard one of the world’s largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.


Cote joined the Navy two years ago. Today, Cote serves as a nuclear machinist’s mate.

“Both my mother and father served in the Navy,” said Cote. “My father is still in the Navy. He is the command master chief at VX-1 in Patuxent River Maryland.
“Being around the military my entire life, I feel a sense of purpose from the satisfaction of serving.”

Cote relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Sayreville to succeed in the military.

“After graduating high school in Guam, where my father was serving in the Navy, I moved to Sayreville,” said Cote. “My father was transferred to Colts Neck. Through working at a local gym, I met a lot of great people, many of them are still my best friends today. There’s so much to do in that area. It was a great time.”

These lessons have helped Cote while serving in the Navy.

Aircraft carriers provide unique capabilities and survivability. They are a powerful exhibition of the American Navy’s legacy of innovation, technological evolution, and maritime dominance, according to Navy officials.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) represents the first major design investment in aircraft carriers since the 1960s. The ship is engineered to support new technologies and a modern air wing essential to deterring and defeating near-peer adversaries in a complex maritime environment. Ford delivers a significant increase in sortie generation rate, approximately three times more electrical generation capacity, and a $4 billion reduction in total life-cycle cost per ship, when compared to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.

Once deployed, the Ford-class will serve as the centerpiece of strike group operations through the 21st century, supporting a host of evolving national strategic objectives.
When the air wing is embarked, the ship carries more than 70 attack fighter jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land from Ford’s state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG).
With nearly 5,000 sailors serving aboard, Ford is a self-contained mobile airport.

Aircraft carriers are often the first response to a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s oceans. Carrier strike groups have the unique advantage of mobility, making them far more strategically advantageous than fixed-site bases. No other weapon system can deploy and operate forward with a full-sized, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s speed, endurance, agility, and the combat capability of its air wing.

“I could not be more proud of our sailors; this crew displayed a phenomenal amount of resiliency and proficiency during each phase of our operational development,” said Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, Ford’s commanding officer. “The crew’s efforts are what make Warship 78 so great, and I can’t wait to be a part of what this mighty warship and her crew achieve in 2022.”

Since USS Langley’s commissioning 100 years ago, the nation’s aircraft carriers, such as Ford, and embarked carrier air wings have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide. Gerald R. Ford represents a generational leap in the aircraft carrier’s capacity to project power on a global scale.

“The aircraft carrier is our U.S. Navy’s centerpiece, our flagship, and a constant reminder to the rest of the world of our enduring maritime presence and influence,” said Rear Arm. James P. Downey, USN, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Aircraft Carriers. “These ships touch every part of our Navy’s mission to project power, ensure sea control, and deter our adversaries.”

Serving in the Navy means Cote 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.

“Our Navy’s presence deters other countries from messing with the USA,” said Cote.

With more than 90% of all trade traveling by sea, and 95% 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.

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

“I graduated first in my class at machinist’s mate school, nuclear power school and nuclear prototype schools,” said Cote.

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

“Serving in the Navy means doing what must be done to protect and defend this country, sometimes with little or no recognition, especially in the nuclear power community,” added Cote. “Even though you won’t see us in the news, we are the most vital people in the U.S. Navy. Knowing our value helps keep us going.”

* This article was written by Alvin Plexico, U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach
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