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Pago Pago, American Samoa, Native Serves Aboard USS Charleston While Operating in the South China Sea

08 March 2023

From Petty Officer 2nd Class Dan Serianni

SOUTH CHINA SEA - Pago Pago, American Samoa, native and 2011 University of Hawaii graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18).

Petty Officer Second Class Avasina Maifea is a Logistics Specialist, or LS, assigned to the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 serving aboard Charleston, homeported out of Naval Base San Diego.

Logistics Specialists are responsible for providing customer service, operating financial accounting systems, managing inventories that support U.S. Navy ships, squadrons and shore-based activities.

“As a logistics specialist on the aviation side, I support aircraft operations by ordering parts from our home command and ensuring the successful transportation and reception of supplies,” said Maifea.

LSs are a part of Supply department, directly responsible for identifying, ordering, stocking and issuing repair parts, clothing and general supplies, perform duties associated with hazardous material control and management and maintain inventory databases and financial records for shore-based warehouses and shipboard storerooms.

“This is my third contract with the Navy but it’s my first time deploying on a ship,” said Maifea. “My last deployment was with the Marines. There’s a lot of similarities between the two jobs but obvious differences in locations and the procedures each command follows.”

The commanding officer of Charleston selects one Sailor monthly, called ‘tiger shark of the month,’ for their outstanding performance and dedication to their shipmates and mission. Maifea was just recently honored with the title for her hard work and conduct.

“I was actually shocked,” said Maifea. “Shout out to my leadership, I didn't know that they were noticing me. It was a great feeling and humbling to be recognized as tiger shark of the month.”

While on deployment, Charleston has contributed to various critical missions in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Most recently, Charleston transited the South China Sea to conduct presence operation, upholding the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law.

“I’m from American Samoa and for a lot of us the Army was a ticket off the island to experience the world,” said Maifea. “But after speaking with a Navy recruiter, I was drawn in by the safety, travel and exploring different countries. I’m happy to have the opportunity to travel and see the diversity of other cultures.”

“I want to shout out to my parents Lealofisa and Meafou,” said Maifea. “You are my inspiration and motivation. Thank you for being there for supporting me throughout my career. And to my husband and son who's turning six while I’m deployed.”

Charleston, part of Destroyer Squadron 7, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with Allies and partners and serve as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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