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From Lagos To US Navy: Top-Graduating Nigerian Sailor Joins Strike Fighter Squadron


Jun 23, 2023

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Seaman Rafiu Shabi, hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, has embarked on a remarkable journey as a sailor in the United States Navy, serving in Strike Fighter Squadron 125. This joint strike fighter squadron is stationed at the U.S. Navy’s largest master jet base.

According to a blog post by the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) on June 15, Shabi joined the Navy six months ago and currently serves as a logistics specialist. He expressed his aspiration to achieve greatness and personal growth by joining the Navy.

Shabi’s formative years were spent in Lagos, where he attended Unique Heights Junior Senior High School, graduating in 2017. The values and skills he acquired while growing up in Lagos have played a pivotal role in his success in the military.
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“Growing up, I learned to respect everyone and to treat everyone with respect,” Shabi shared, highlighting the lessons he learned that continue to guide him in his Navy service.

Shabi is a member of VFA-125, responsible for operating and maintaining the F35-C Lightning II, a cutting-edge fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The F-35C is designed to revolutionize air combat capabilities by encompassing a wide range of missions, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, electronic attack, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The introduction of radar-evading stealth capability on the aircraft carrier deck marks a historic milestone in U.S. naval aviation. Navy officials assert that the F-35C carrier variant sets new benchmarks in weapon system integration, lethality, maintainability, combat radius, and payload, thereby empowering true multi-mission power projection capability from the sea.
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This year also commemorates the 50th anniversary of women flying in the U.S. Navy. In 1973, eight women embarked on flight school in Pensacola, with six of them, known as “The First Six,” earning their coveted “Wings of Gold” the following year. Over the past five decades, women aviators have played an increasingly prominent role in projecting power from the sea across various Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aircraft.

Recognizing the critical importance of the Navy’s role in global security, Navy officials emphasize the necessity of trained sailors and a robust Navy to safeguard the prosperity and well-being of the United States. With 90 percent of global commerce relying on maritime transportation and undersea fiber optic cables securing internet access, the Navy’s mission to provide a superior and combat-ready force remains unwavering.

“Our mission remains timeless – to provide our fellow citizens with nothing less than the very best Navy: fully combat ready at all times, focused on warfighting excellence, and committed to superior leadership at every single level,” stated Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “This is our calling. And I cannot imagine a calling more worthy.”

As a proud member of the Navy, Shabi recognizes the pivotal role played by the organization in safeguarding the nation.

“The Navy protects the people of this country,” affirmed Shabi, illustrating his dedication to the noble cause.
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Shabi and his fellow sailors are presented with numerous opportunities to achieve remarkable milestones during their military service. Shabi, in particular, expressed his pride in graduating at the top of his class in logistics specialist “A” school, acknowledging the time and effort he invested to accomplish this feat.

Expressing gratitude for the support he has received, Shabi extended his appreciation to his parents, Hon Shabi and Alhaja Abeo, and his brother Ismail, who encouraged him to pursue a military career. He aspires to make them proud through his service in the Navy.

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