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 Dakota High School graduate Christopher Stefanides serves with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, working at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

Dakota High School graduate Christopher Stefanides serves with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, working at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

Photo provided by the Navy Office of Community Outreach


Macomb Township native continues tradition of military service

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 4, 2020

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Knowing that he wanted to be challenged by doing something different, 2010 Dakota High School graduate Christopher Stefanides joined the Navy.

Now, almost nine years later, Stefanides serves with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, working with one of the Navy’s most advanced helicopters at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Stefanides is a Naval aircrewman responsible for search and rescue missions, logistics, operating the hoist, and is a crew chief in the back of the aircraft.

“My favorite part about my rate is the ability to save someone else’s life,” Stefanides said. “‘So others may live’ is the rescue swimmers motto, and that is what I live by.”

A Navy press release states that 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 U.S. are directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Pilots and aircrew are trained in the squadron to fly MH-60S Seahawk helicopters to ensure they are prepared for peacetime and warfighting missions.

Helicopters are equipped with the ability to conduct replenishments at sea, search and rescue missions, and support other operations as needed.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said the focus of today’s Navy is squarely on warfighting, warfighters and the capabilities needed for the Navy of the future.

“I am confident we will maximize the Navy we have today while delivering the Navy that our nation will rely upon tomorrow,” Gilday stated in the release. “And we will do so with urgency. Our fleet will be a potent, formidable force that competes around the world every day, deterring those who would challenge us while reassuring our allies and partners.”

Stefanides is most proud of conducting a medical evacuation off USS Theodore Roosevelt, where the team ended up transporting a patient an hour flight from the carrier to Phuket, Thailand.

“During that time, I was breathing for the patient,” Stefanides said. “We received an award as a crew from the Navy Helicopter Association. I was most proud of being able to do my job and transfer someone to higher care to save their life.”

For Stefanides, serving in the Navy is a tradition passed down from generations and one he hopes to continue. His dad served in the Army, while his grandfather was in the Navy. Two cousins are also in the Navy.

“To be able to continue the tradition of us being in the military is uplifting, but also the pride that my parents and my family have for me makes it even better,” he said.

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