GREENVILLE, N.C (WNCT) – An East Carolina University graduate is now serving in the United States Navy as part of the nation’s nuclear deterrence.

Ensign Javiel Cliffton is a 2011 graduate of ECU and a Fayetteville resident. He joined the Navy seven years ago. Clifton is currently stationed at Tinker Air Force Base as is a part of the “Take Charge and Move Out” mission at STRATCOMMWING. The mission provides airborne communication links to nuclear missile units of U.S. Strategic Command.

“One day, I stepped out on the car lot where I worked and had an epiphany,” said Clifton. “My father served in the Army and after talking with him, I finally realized I wanted more out of life. I really wanted to see the world.”

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.

Clifton serves as an aerospace maintenance duty officer with VQ 3.

“I didn’t know anything about aircraft at first, but after being assigned to my first fighter squadron, I discovered that I really loved being a part of the aviation community,” said Clifton.

Clifton’s favorite part about the job, however, is the comradery.

“I love to interact with people,” said Clifton. “As an enlisted lead petty officer, I supervised the most junior sailors. As I’ve advanced in rank, it’s given me the ability to positively affect even more people.”

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.

Serving in the Navy means Clifton 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 projects sea power as a deterrent to attacks on the United States, our allies and partners,” said Clifton. Clifton is proud of graduating from Officer Candidate School, riding in the back seat of an F-18F fighter jet and being named Sailor of the Year as an enlisted sailor; prior to commissioning as an officer.

Still, Clifton’s proudest accomplishment has been the journey to this point.