Women's History Month

Sailor: Good decision to enlist in the Navy

Ferrara comes from a family of military service

MA2 Stephanie Ferrara, who arrived at NAS Fallon in August, said enlisting in the Navy was a good decision more than 10 years ago.

MA2 Stephanie Ferrara, who arrived at NAS Fallon in August, said enlisting in the Navy was a good decision more than 10 years ago. Photo by Steve Ranson.

Service to country is important to Stephanie Ferrara, a 28-year-old sailor and single mother who arrived at Naval Air Station Fallon in August.

The Tampa, Fla., native enlisted in the military as did her older brothers. MA2 (master-at-arms) Ferrara, the youngest of four, said her oldest brother enlisted in the Army and is still with the military branch, and her second oldest brother joined the Navy where he is now a chief petty officer and instructor for the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program. Another brother went into the Marines, but he didn’t re-enlist.

“I was the last one left, and I thought of joining the Air Force,” Ferrara said of her quest to enlist more than 10 years ago.

Instead, she spoke to a Navy recruiter who offered her everything she wanted.

“I have been very thankful with my career,” said Ferrara, who completed her basic and advanced courses as a law enforcement officer or a master-at-arms in a male-dominated job field.

Ferrara and more than 200,000 women currently serve in the U.S. military and are being recognized during March, which is Women’s History Month.

During her first decade in the Navy, Ferrara has been to Naval Air Station Mayport (Florida), Greece (Crete Naval Base at Souda Bay) and Naval Station Norfolk where she conducted harbor security. She said her time at Norfolk provided important training at the world’s largest Navy base.

Prior to arriving at NAS Fallon, Ferrara, a single mother of a 6-year-old son, spent three-and-a-half years at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on the eastern peninsula of Cuba.

“We had a decent size department,” Ferrara said of the base security operations at Guantanamo, an installation of 8,500 people. “We had about 160 people.”

Security personnel were responsible for base security

During the final year of her assignment at Guantanamo, Ferrara said she was an administrative LPO or lead petty officer.

“It taught me a lot on the administrative side of my job,” she said. “I’ve been blessed with many interesting jobs.”

Ferrara, though, quickly pointed out the base operation is separate from Task Force Guantanamo, where prisoners from Afghanistan and other areas are detained. She said the Army and Army National Guard provide the security at the detention facility.

“I felt very safe,” Ferrara said of her tour at Guantanamo. “The Cubans who work on the base are some of the nicest people you’ll meet.”

From an overseas duty at Guantanamo in the Caribbean to the Nevada desert, Ferrara and her son arrived in Fallon six months ago after taking a road trip from Florida, and immediately they fell in love with the Oasis of Nevada.

“This is definitely one of the places I chose,” she added.

Ferrara said NAS Fallon will be a good assignment for her career. She said the command is small enough to focus on each sailor’s career, and she likes the chain of command. Although the number of women serving as master-at-arms is small, Ferrara said the chain of command at NAS Fallon serves as the backbone. Having three older brothers also prepped Ferrara for
her military career in law enforcement.

“It was a very easy transition,” she said, “but at times it becomes difficult. You have to other females in command you can count on.”

One of her mentors is currently the acting head of security.

“It’s very rare to see a woman in that rank,” she said. “To see it is motivating.”

Overall with her different assignments and the sailors she’s known, Ferrara said she hasn’t experienced too many issues. She counts the many male friends as “some of the greatest guys” in a brotherhood. After a decade after enlistment, Ferrara said she made a good choice.

“The Navy is worth the experience,” she said. “It’s been a good decision, job-wise.”

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