A 2016 Southeast High School graduate and Springfield, Illinois, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Assault Craft Unit FOUR (ACU 4), one of the Navy’s most advanced amphibious warfare units.
Fireman Antonia Thomas is a gas turbine systems technician (mechanical) with the group operating out of Virginia Beach,Virginia.
A Navy gas turbine systems technician (mechanical) is responsible for making sure the main propulsion machinery is working properly throughout the boat.
ACU 4 is one of the components of Naval Beach Group TWO (NBG 2).
Commissioned in 1948, just after World War II, NBG 2 trains and equips military forces for deployment overseas. Sailors with NBG 2 serve a vital role in the Navy our nation needs by ensuring that amphibious operations remain ready to defend and protect America at all times.
ACU 4 operates landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) vehicles, which are designed to transport personnel and equipment from surface ships to shore.
The exercises and real-world operations that ACU 4 Sailors participate in include evacuation of American citizens from a hostile territory, delivery of food and medical supplies after a natural disaster, and many other tasks that involve movement from ships off-shore to the beach, according to Navy officials.
Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Thomas is most proud of being the only one who left her hometown and was successful.
While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Thomas said they have found many great rewards.