McDavid Native Trains U.S. Navy Future Warfighters

August 19, 2019

Sailors are some of the most highly-trained people on the planet, according to U.S. Navy officials, and this training requires highly-dedicated instructors.

At Naval Education and Training Command, this obligation falls upon hard-charging, professionals who train and mentor the Navy’s future warfighters.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Moretz, a native of McDavid, Florida, is an instructor at NETC, providing the fleet with sailors who possess the basic technical knowledge and skills necessary for naval service.

“The sense of pride training furture engineers for the fleet is what I enjoy most about teaching,” Moretz said.

Instructors are experts in the subject matter they teach, and they provide cutting-edge technical training transforming new recruits into mission-ready sailors.

Moretz, a 2013 graduate of Northview High School, credits success as an instructor to many of the lessons learned growing up in McDavid.

“I learned a great work ethic by working long hours and this really prepared me for my job as an engineer and helped me to adapt well to the Navy culture,” Moretz said.

NETC educates and trains those who serve our nation, taking them from street-to-fleet by transforming civilians into highly skilled, operational, and combat ready warfighters, while providing the tools and opportunities for continuous learning and development.

Six commands provide a continuum of professional education and training at NETC in support of Surface Navy requirements preparing enlisted sailors and officers to serve at sea, providing apprentice and specialized skills training to 7,500 sailors a year.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

Moretz plays an important role in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results, and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Moretz is most proud being appointed as the engineering duty officer while serving on a ship.

“The engineering officer entrusted me with the department in port,” Moretz said. “This gave me a great sense of pride knowing I was being entrusted with the responsibility based on my knowledge and integrity.”

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Moretz, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Moretz is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“Several of my family members served in the military but most importantly, my dad did,” Moretz said. “I’m working hard to beat him out of his pay grade.”

As a member of one of the Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Moretz and other instructors, know they are part of a legacy lasting beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“There’s a sense of honor serving my country while seeing the world and training junior sailors,” Moretz said. “I continue to learn every day.”

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne for, click to enlarge.

National Thrift Store Day: Waterfront Mission Store Has Served Cantonment Since 2011

August 18, 2019

Saturday was National Thrift Store Day.

The first Waterfront Rescue Mission Thrift Stores was founded in 1963 to support the work of the Mission. Today, there are eight Waterfront Rescue Mission Thrift Stores, including a North Escambia location in Cantonment that opened in March 2011 at 732 North Highway 29, next to the Grocery Advantage. photos, click to enlarge.

Smokey Bear Celebrates 75th Birthday

August 10, 2019

Friday, the  Florida Forest Service joined the nation in celebrating 75 years of Smokey Bear, the face of the longest-running public service advertising campaign in United States history, continuing his legacy of bringing awareness to unwanted, human-caused fires.

“Wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues in our state,” said Jim Karels, state forester and director of the Florida Forest Service. “Florida’s climate creates a unique challenge for our year-round wildfire season, making it imperative for us to educate Floridians and visitors alike on the importance of Smokey Bear’s message.”

Smokey Bear’s wildfire prevention campaign has had a dramatic impact since its introduction in 1944. Progress continues today with an approximate 14 percent reduction in the average number of human-caused wildfires from 2011-2018, compared to the previous 10 years.

While his work has been successful, more than 75% of all wildfires in Florida are caused by human carelessness, which means Smokey’s message remains relevant. Since January, the Florida Forest Service has responded to 1,295 wildfires that have burned over 87,200 acres in our state.

Pictured: A 75th birthday party for Smokey Bear Friday at the Blackwater Forestry Center. Escambia County is part of the Blackwater district. Photo for, click to enlarge.

Weekend Gardening: August To Do List

August 10, 2019

Here are gardening tips for the month of August from the UF/IFAS Extension program:

What to Plant

  • Bedding Plants: The hottest days of summer limit planting now to heat tolerant vinca, gaillardia, bulbine, and coleus.
  • Bulbs:Aztec lily, butterfly lily, walking iris, and spider lily can be planted any time of the year, even late summer.
  • Herbs: Herbs that can be planted from plants (not seeds) include bay laurel, ginger,Mexican tarragon, and rosemary.
  • Vegetables: This month starts the fall planting season. Many cool season crops can be planted now, including a final crop of warm-season vegetables such as pepper. Tomato can be planted for the fall garden.
What to Do
  • Lawn problems: Damaged areas can be the result of insects, disease, or irrigation problems. Be sure to determine the cause so the proper remedy is used. Use a sharp mower blade and only remove 1/3 of grass blade to reduce stress on the lawn.
  • Palms: If older fronds are yellowing, you may have a magnesium or potassium deficiency. Apply an appropriate palm fertilizer.
  • Poinsettias: Pinch back poinsettias and mums before the end of the month to allow time for buds to form for winter bloom.
  • Ornamental Plants: Rapid growth and leaching rains may result in nutrient deficiencies in some plants. Fertilize those plants that show signs of deficiencies.
  • Bedding Plants: Remove spent blooms, cut back, and fertilize flowering annuals and perennials to extend the bloom season into the fall months.
What To Do Every Month
  • Adjust irrigation based on rainfall.
  • Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms.
  • Monitor the garden for insects and disease.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials and water until established.

Master Gardener Info Day Held In Cantonment; Still Time To Join The Program

August 7, 2019

Twenty people took part in a volunteer open house Tuesday in Cantonment to learn more about the University of Florida’s Master Gardener Volunteer Program.

Attendees learned about training sessions, volunteer activities and the role of master gardeners in the community  during the program at the Escambia County Extension Service offices on Stefani Road.

For information about the Master Gardener Program,  contact Beth Bolles with Escambia County Extension at (850) 475-5230 or at Applications are available until September 2.

Photos for, click to enlarge.

Little Girl Reunited With Her Beloved Stuffed ‘Bubblegum Sprinkles’ And Inspires Stuffed Animal Drive

August 4, 2019

Bubblegum Sprinkles is back home thanks to a Nine Mile Road business, and he has inspired a community outreach that will help others.

The stuffed animal husky was accidently left behind about a week ago at Maynard’s Donut Company. Maynard’s knew he was something special, so they found the surveillance video of the young lady that left him behind and set out to find her on social media.

During his week around Maynard’s, Bubblegum Sprinkles visited with customers and helped out around the store. As time passed, they were able to find the girl and arranged with for a sweet reunion Saturday morning with 3-year old Nina English and her dad Michael.

Nina jumped for Joy seeing Bubblegum Sprinkles and embraced him with a big hug and an even bigger smile.

Maynard’s also announced the launch of “Operation Sprinkles”. They will be collecting brand new stuffed animals for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Pensacola Police Department, Gulf Coast Kid’s House, Ronald McDonald House and other community organizations.

Each person that donates a stuffed animal will receive a free doughnut.

Pictured top: Nina English reunited with her beloved Bubblegun Sprinkles Saturday morning at Maynard’s Donut Co. on Nine Mile Road. Pictured below: Nina accidently left Sprinkles behind during this visit about a week ago. Pictured second below: Maynard’s started collecting stuffed animals for several community groups Saturday. Pictured third below: During his week at Maynard’s, Sprinkles helped out around the store. Courtesy images for, click to enlarge.

Century-Flomaton Improvement Association Provides Free School Supplies

August 4, 2019

The Century-Flomaton Improvement Association (CFIA) held a back to school event Saturday.

The event included door prizes, lunch, an educational presentation from CFIA President Melvin Whatley, and a giveaway of free book bags and school supplies.

Photos courtesy Tammy Amerson for, click to enlarge.

Molino ‘Day Of Hope’ Provides Free School Supplies, Groceries, Haircuts And More

August 4, 2019

Victory Assembly of God held their Day of Hope Saturday in Molino.

Students were able to receive free backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, food bags and an encouraging word during the annual community outreach.

“We had a really big day,” Victory Assembly Pastor Jeff McKee said. “The turnout was great early on.” photos, click to enlarge.

Deidra’s Gift Donates School Supplies To Bratt Elementary

August 3, 2019

The group Dedria’s Gift donated book bags filled with school supplies Friday to Bratt Elementary School. The supplies were distributed in memory of Dedria Robinson, who was killed in 2005 in an automobile accident at age 11. Photo for, click to enlarge.

Tate Graduate Keeps The Navy’s Newest, Most Advanced Helicopters Flying

July 30, 2019

A 2014 J.M. Tate High School graduate and Pensacola native is serving with a U.S. Navy helicopter squadron that flies the Navy’s newest and most technologically-advanced helicopter.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Joanna Osburn credits much of their success from lessons they learned growing up in Pensacola.

“I learned that I am never alone and to never give up,” said Osburn.

Osburn is an aviation maintenance administrationman with the “Airwolves” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 40, a Mayport, Florida based squadron that operates the Navy’s next generation submarine hunter and Anti-Surface Warfare helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk. Each helicopter is nearly 65 feet long, may weigh up to 23,500 lbs. (max gross) and can travel over 120 miles per hour for nearly 320 miles on a tank of gas.

As an aviation maintenance administrationman, Osburn is responsible for clerical, administrative, and managerial duties for the squadron.

According to Navy officials, the MH-60R is the most capable multi-mission helicopter available in the world today. It is used for a variety of missions, including hunting and tracking enemy submarines, attacking enemy ships, search and rescue, drug interdiction, delivering supplies and supporting the Navy’s special operations forces.

It is replacing the Navy’s older helicopters because of its greater versatility and more advanced weapon systems.

Osburn is now a part of a long-standing tradition of serving in the Navy our nation needs.

“My brother served in the Air Force, my dad in the Navy, my uncle Army, and my other brother served in the Marines,” said Osburn. “It’s definitely a big part of my family.”

Osburn said they are proud to be part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

“Watching junior sailors develop into become great leaders is incredibly satisfying,” said Osburn.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied within the squadron. Approximately 297 Navy men and women are assigned and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly. This includes everything from maintaining helicopter airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weapons and flying the aircraft.

Osburn is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon capital assets, Osburn and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

Serving in the Navy, Osburn is learning about being a more respectable leader, Sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.

“The Navy is a big family. They always have your back through thick and thin, no matter the situation,” said Osburn.

by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Rae Moreno

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