ABOVE: Senior Chief Petty Officer Emefre Nkere
A Nigeria native with ties to Houston 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.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Emefre Nkere, a 1997 Alief Hastings High School graduate, joined the Navy 25 years ago.
“I came from Nigeria and joined the Navy to help pay for school,” said Nkere.
Today, Nkere serves as a damage controlman.
“What I enjoy the most about serving in the Navy is seeing the end product,” said Nkere. “Once you have completed your job and the plane takes off, you see the success of your work.”
Nkere uses skills and values that he learned from his family back in Houston that have made him successful in the Navy.
“My family dynamics taught me how to bond with my shipmates,” said Nkere. “I have many cousins and we were close. It has helped me formulate friendships with my shipmates.”
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.
Nkere serves with the Center for Naval Technical Training.
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 Nkere 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 strong deterrence to help reduce global conflict,” said Nkere. “The Navy helps to keep peace”.
Nkere and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“Making the rank of chief petty officer was a major accomplishment for me,” said Nkere.
As Nkere and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“I am most proud of leading the junior sailors, teaching them and watching them grow,” added Nkere. “I also met my wife while in the military. We have been happily married for over 14 years.”