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NEWS | Jan. 13, 2023

Profiles in Professionalism: Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Gavin Persaud

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Chelsea Milburn, Commander, Naval Air Force Reserve Public Affairs

“I’m originally from Guyana,” said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class Gavin Persaud, assigned to Commander, Fleet Logistics Support Wing (CFLSW). “It’s a small country on the North coast of South America that’s culturally Caribbean. It’s also the only English-speaking country in South America.”
Persaud’s life changed dramatically as a young adult with his decision to move with his father to the United States.
“I moved to New York when I was two months shy of turning 21,” Persaud continued. “My mother had passed away, and my father’s family was all in New York. I wanted him to be able to be with his family.”
Not long after this major geographical and cultural transition, Persaud began to feel the pull of another big life change.
“I was working at a bank in downtown Brooklyn,” said Persaud. “Traveling seven miles would take like 45 minutes on a bus. Every day when I came around to the bus stop, right across the road was the Navy recruiting office. One day, I got tired of the commute, decided to try something new, and walked into the recruiting office.”
After being in New York for less than a year, Persaud left for the Navy on active duty.
“Just like any one of us who joins the Navy, I was homesick, but for me it was a little bit different because not only was I not with family, I wasn’t with anything familiar – no familiar foods, no familiar holidays, etc.,” said Persaud. “Thankfully, I met a few people in the Navy who were from the Caribbean, and they took me in and made me feel at home. They also taught me the importance of networking, which I started from a very early stage in my career.”
After Aviation Machinist’s Mate (AD) “A” school, followed by one shore duty command, Persaud transferred to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9.
“I had a really good time, and I enjoyed being a mechanic at the squadron,” said Persaud. “That was around the time the Navy started doing [Career Waypoints (C-WAY) and Enlisted Retention Boards]. In my gear group, I believe all the ADs got cross rated. All the ADs I knew from my year group did. So I got cross rated. It was a force conversion to Aviation Maintenance Administrationman (AZ) on the [Training and Administration of the Reserve (TAR)] side.”
“I went to [Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 56] for my first AZ tour,” said Persaud. “It was very difficult to be coming from a rate that had been mostly wide open for quotas, and now I’m a [TAR] AZ, and it’s zero percent advancement. At the same time, I was adjusting to not being a mechanic anymore. For a while, I had a saying that I went from a mech to a mailman.”
Persaud said the biggest change in his outlook came from a conversation with a mentor.
“I met [Senior Chief Aviation Maintenance Administrationman] Lisa Stockdale, and she really opened my eyes and showed me a different perspective,” said Persaud. “She got me to understand my career and my progression depend on what I put into them.”
Persaud said he carried this advice with him to his next command.
“I picked up 2nd class and then transferred to [the “Blackhawks” of Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 15], a primarily active-duty command,” said Persaud. “A lot of people told me not to go there because it would be very tough, but I felt that I didn’t have enough knowledge to compete with other AZ2s, and I wanted the challenge of a rigorous command with a lot of work to push me to learn. I went there, and it was tough, and I loved it.”
Persaud said he also enjoyed working with the squadron’s maintainers when he had the chance. He explained that at times in aviation, there can be a rift in understanding between maintenance and administrative personnel that his unique background helps him to bridge.
“Whenever I’m at a squadron, I’m always going to get quals and help the maintainers,” said Persaud. “It keeps me connected to my maintainer side, it helps us build the connection with the maintainers, and it gives me a break from my work that lets me come back refreshed. It’s a win win.”
Persaud explained how his perspective continued to change as he began to thrive in his new rating.
“Having been through the things I have gives me the resilience and confidence to support my peers and junior Sailors when they need a voice or someone to vent to,” said Persaud. “I believe I can communicate anything well and get things done because I recognize what I can and can’t control and approach things in a way where I can find the things I can make better.”
Persaud said recognizing the challenges he’s faced and what he’s gained from the experience frames how he views himself and his career in a positive light.
“Overall, at the end of the day, one could look at me on paper and see a 14-year AZ1 still not eligible for chief,” said Persaud. “A lot of people might see that and say I’m a little bit behind. Personally, I don’t because I feel that I’m not just a junior first class. I feel that I’m a first class who has been through a lot, and I’m very resilient.”
CFLSW is a Naval Air Force Reserve wing, comprised of 11 fleet logistics squadrons, providing the Navy’s sole organic intra-theater airlift capability operating worldwide.