A young sailor from Kerrville spent Christmas at sea in an aircraft carrier strike group thousands of miles away.

On Dec. 30, Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Joshua Machicek took the helm of the USS Harry S. Truman in the Ariabian Sea. The multi-billion-dollar, nuclear-powered ship Machicek has called home for months is part of The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group.

The strike group was deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, according to the Navy’s public affairs office. The Central Region connects the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

Machicek, in an electronic communication on Tuesday, indicated that although the deployment has been tough at times, it’s been well worth it to serve his country, be a role model for his younger siblings and form a solid foundation on which to build a future family.

“It was definitely a challenge,” said Machicek, who enlisted on Dec. 7, 2016. “Living on a floating city, essentially, with over 5,000 people can be a pain, but you just gotta take it one day at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be back in port to see your family and friends again.”

Machicek graduated from Tivy High School in 2016. Staff at the school on Wednesday expressed their appreciation to Machicek and others in the armed services. Among them was former physics teacher Kelly Dunigan, who said Machicek’s profession, which involves working with expensive machinery, makes a lot of sense when she recalls all the things he designed and built in her class.

“We reiterate how proud we are of Joshua and his service,” said Tivy principal Shelby Balser in an email. “We wish him best of luck and hope he still relies on his inner Tivy Fight!”

Machicek said being in the U.S. Navy is something he’s wanted to do ever since members of the JROTC program visited his middle school. 

“Once I kinda got a taste of the military lifestyle, I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” Machicek said. 

Other members of his family who have been in the military include his grandfather, who was in the U.S. Army ceremonial guard, and his uncle, who was in the Navy during the Persian Gulf War, he said. 

Machicek acknowledged that being a deployed service member can be hard on military families. 

“I’d like to make a shout out to my parents and family for always supporting me and being able to work with me and my busy military schedule, even in the hard times when I’m away for extended periods of time,” Machicek said.

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