By Stephanie Fox, Navy Office of Community Outreach
FAIRFIELD – A native Fairfielder serving with the United States Africa Command supports a military exercise in Mombasa, Kenya.
Cutlass Express 2021 is an annual maritime exercise conducted to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the western Indian Ocean.
Sergeant 2nd Class Stacey Preston joined the Navy six years ago because of the opportunities offered by the service. Preston now serves as an intelligence specialist.
“I wanted to serve as a stepping stone in the Navy to gain work experience and take advantage of future educational opportunities,” said Preston.
While growing up in Fairfield, Preston attended Rodriguez High School and graduated in 2015.
“I’ve learned patience and tolerance,” said Preston, referring to service in the Navy. “You never know who you’re going to be working with, so I’ve learned to work with all different personalities and people with life experiences other than my own. I learned more than just my technical profession. I learned to understand the social aspect of different work environments. The cream will always rise, as they say. “
Preston works as a screenwriter during the exercise.
“I create scenarios that I can present to partner countries to see their response to situations such as human trafficking, illicit drug trafficking and illegal fishing,” said Preston. “This helps test them and helps us see what they would do if these situations arise. It helps us to assess their reaction and to understand their ability. “
According to naval officials, naval forces from East Africa, the nations of the West Indian Ocean, Europe, North America and several international organizations began the Cutlass Express 2021 multinational maritime exercise with an opening ceremony on July 26 at the Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa.
The exercise, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, U.S. Sixth Fleet, evaluates and enhances combined maritime law enforcement capabilities, promotes national and regional security in East Africa, and increases interoperability between the U.S. , African nations and international partners.
This year’s exercise uses the recently adopted Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which 14 nations have signed, as a framework for the exercise of information-sharing practices and the enforcement of maritime law. The participating nations will test their ability to combat illegal trade, piracy, illegal fishing and search and rescue situations.
While there are many opportunities for sailors to gain recognition in their command, community, and career, Preston takes great pride in setting solid career goals.
“My greatest accomplishment in the Navy is figuring out what to do next,” said Preston. “I joined the Navy to build a career, and I feel like I did. The Navy helped me find a direction. “
As a member of the US Navy, Preston and fellow Sailors know they are part of a service tradition that provides unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world politics, and humanitarian aid. Your efforts will have lasting effects around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“The cooperation with partner nations and the different military work were very motivating,” said Preston. “This exercise is a great opportunity to see how different nations share information and best practices.”