SAN DIEGO – Airman Elizabeth Lillig-Gruesser, a native of Yerington, joined the Navy to leave her small town and travel the world. Now, almost three years later, Lillig-Gruesser serves with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3, working with one of the Navy’s most advanced helicopters at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego.
Lillig-Gruesser is an aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) who is responsible for signaling and landing planes and helicopters.
“I love the adrenaline that pumps through me when I am doing my job,” said Lillig-Gruesser.
Lillig-Gruesser is a 2017 Fernley High School graduate.
According to Lillig-Gruesser, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Yerington.
“I learned to be cautious with who you trust because not everyone is who they say they are,” said Lillig-Gruesser.
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.
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.
According to Admiral Mike Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations, 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,” said Gilday. “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.”
There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers. Lillig-Gruesser is most proud of earning a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
“I had to work really hard to earn the award,” said Lillig-Gruesser.
As a member of the Navy, Lillig-Gruesser, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving in the Navy means I am not in a small town and doing the same thing everyone else is doing,” said Lillig-Gruesser.