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NEWS | March 22, 2022

Profiles in Professionalism: MA2 Benjamin Garrett

By Daniel Rachal

PORTLAND, Ore. - As a Navy Reserve Sailor, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Benjamin Garrett began his career at Navy Reserve Center Portland and has been assigned to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka and Security Force Bravo Detachment in Bahrain. He applied to be a recruiter and has been in Onboarding since August 2018 for Navy Talent Acquisition Group Portland. 

In his current role, Garrett is responsible for preparing future Sailors for basic training and ensuring they have the knowledge and skills required to succeed as they begin their Navy journey. Being a mentor is something that is extremely important to Garrett. Sharing his commitment to the Navy is what led him to be a recruiter.

“I enjoy seeing the recruits get excited over their jobs,” Garrett said. “I like it when I see them wanting to serve and not just wanting a paycheck.” 

The enthusiasm that he has for the Navy and its history, and the aspiration to teach others also led him to volunteer as a Naval Sea Cadet instructor. Garrett spends one weekend a month instructing Sea Cadets in Navy core values, basic seamanship, heritage and history.

Garrett takes great pride in mentoring and teaching Sea Cadets. Cadet Samuel Coontz, who recently enlisted in the Navy as a Builder, credits Garrett with giving him multiple opportunities to succeed in the Sea Cadets and the Navy. 

“He really taught me a lot of the Navy heritage and traditions along with helping me with leadership roles within the Sea Cadet program,” Coontz said.

Future Sailor Austin Pham, who is in the Delayed Entry Program and will be an Aviation Structural Mechanic, was timid, quiet and fairly shy before Garrett began mentoring him in the Sea Cadets. 

“MA2 taught me how to speak up and be noticed,” Pham said. “To step up and take a leadership role.”

When Garrett wanted to join the Navy at 18, he did not qualify. There wasn’t a problem with the ASVAB, a waiver he could not obtain nor did he fall out of the height and weight standards. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prevented openly gay men and women from serving in the military, kept him from service. He was 15 years old watching the Twin Towers fall in New York. At that moment, he knew he needed to serve. However, while “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was law, all he could do was wait. Nine years later, in 2010, the law was repealed and Garrett still had the same motivation to serve that existed when he was a teenager. 

“As soon as the policy changed, I walked into the recruiting office to enlist,” Garrett said.

Growing up in The Dalles, a rural part of Oregon, was difficult for Garrett due to his sexual orientation. Since joining the Navy, he has found an open, supportive and welcoming environment. After 11 years in uniform, he already knows that the Navy will be a career, whether on active duty or in the Reserves.

“The Navy has always been a positive workplace for me,” Garrett said. “I have grown so much as a person due to the culture of the Navy. I am so proud to be part of the Navy; it’s truly the greatest decision I have ever made.”