A Menifee, California, native is serving aboard USS Iwo Jima, a U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Abigail Tillman is a 2019 Paloma Valley High School graduate. Today Tillman serves as a Religious Program Specialist.

“I am a chaplain assistant, helping in day to day task and making sure I keep a smile on everyone’s face,” said Tillman.

Tillman joined the Navy for the opportunities serving provides.

“My reasons for joining the navy are much like everyone else, I want to travel the world while serving my country, along with getting a college education,” said Tillman.

According to Tillman, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in the Menifee.

“Looking back my hometown helped me grow a lot,” said Tillman. “While I was in high school I was very involved in my NJROTC program and I believe that helped me a lot in being where I am today.”

Iwo Jima is the seventh Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and the second ship in the U.S. Navy to bear that name. The ship was named for the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II.

According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers. Tillman is most proud of receiving a promotion.

“Making petty officer third class in less than 9 months after graduating boot camp, and being able to do everything on my own at the age of 20,” said Tillman.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Tillman, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.

“Since serving the navy I have learned numerous things about myself and what I’m capable of,” added Tillman. “I have always been a little afraid to be on my own but since I have joined I have grown so much.”