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NEWS | Oct. 14, 2021

Profiles in Professionalism: MA1 Andrea Navar

By Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan Word

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – U.S. Master-at-Arms 1st Class Andrea Navar, a Navy Reservist from San Diego, Calif. assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, is bringing her experience and training to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), driven by her desire to improve her fellow service members’ war fighting readiness.

Navar has given 17 years of service to the Navy, including four and a half years of active duty service. Even though this is her first mobilization as a Navy Reservist, she has found herself at the tip of the spear before.

“I spent two solid years in Afghanistan as a private contractor,” says Navar. “My role in Afghanistan was to teach Afghan women how to be police officers and the basics of Anti-Terrorism Force Protection.”

During operations in Afghanistan by U.S. and coalition forces, Afghan women had seen an increase in human rights and independence. However, with the recent withdrawal, women still living there may see hard fought freedoms reduced under the new Taliban regime.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my interpreters and my students. The classes for the women’s police program lasted about eight weeks. On their last day, which was my birthday, they said ‘Miss, Miss, we’ll protect you from the Taliban, let’s go to the Bazaar.”

Fast forward nearly a decade and Navar is again in a deployed environment, this time in Northeast Africa.

While deployed here to CLDJ, Navar has taken the initiative to oversee and implement improvements to the base’s Mobile Laser Shot system, eventually upgrading it to a Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) system. She is the Firearms Training Simulator and Small Arms Marksmanship Instructor. These systems are virtual firearms training environments that allow trainees to experience a range environment indoors. This saves countless man-hours, ammunition and heat-related stress due to the hot Djiboutian environment.

“The time to train is not during an emergency,” says Navar. “I’m hoping the system will provide muscle memory for my fellow MAs, not just for this deployment, but hopefully going forward in their future careers. Also, with a FATS machine we can do joint service training as well, because it also has Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps training on it to help not just the security department, but to help the command as a whole.”

Navar has made a commitment to improving the skills of her fellow service members, but she has continually improved her own skills and knowledge while she has been deployed.

“MA1 Navar has hit the ground running,” says Master-at-Arms 1st Class Sheana McAnerny, CLDJ’s Security Department Leading Petty Officer. “She obtained her Patrolman and Dispatcher qualifications quickly making herself a valuable member to her section by being malleable to any situation presented.”

If the sharpening of her and her fellow Sailor’s military skills was not enough, Navar has also steadfastly sought to improve the overall quality of life of those around her here at Camp Lemonnier and the community surrounding it.

“She became a member of the Command Resilience Team where she assisted in fostering an environment of inclusion and diversity throughout CLDJ,” says McAnerny. “She has volunteered 30 hours at the Camp Lemonnier USO, five hours with the Friends of Africa, attended cultural awareness and local French classes.”

Navar has managed to do all of this on top of finding the time to complete immigration cases in pursuance of her attorney certification with the Provisional Licensure Program for the California State Bar.

As a member of the U.S. Navy stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Navar knows she is a part of a service tradition of unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Her efforts will have a lasting effect on her life, personally, and the lives of the many Sailors who will follow.