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NEWS | May 25, 2023

Profiles in Professionalism: Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Gioranah Abellard

By Lt. Brittany Ofori, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 8

Arriving at Naval Station Newport Rhode Island November 11, 2016, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Gioranah Abellard, a Navy Reserve Sailor from Brockton, Massachusetts, came with two goals in mind: step outside of her comfort zone and advance her professional career.

A native of Haiti, Abellard immigrated to the United States in 2002. After witnessing aid provided by the U.S. Navy to Haiti for the 2010 earthquake, she knew she would join the Armed Forces.

“I wanted to be a part of that legacy,” says Abellard.

As a Reserve Sailor assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 8D Company, she is deployed for her first time in support of Operation Spartan Shield at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Her mission: to provide weapon systems qualification, issuance, administrative, and maintenance support to MSRON Convoy and Maritime elements. Upon arriving to Camp Lemonnier, Abellard hit the ground running developing various programs for the Weapons Department.

“Her initiative was paramount in making our explosive safety program and deployment a success,” said GMC Phil Mertine, Weapons Department Head, and Abellard’s immediate supervisor.

“This deployment has afforded me the opportunity to not only work within my rate but has given me a glimpse into how international relationships tie into the overall mission,” says Abellard.

While deployed in Djibouti, Abellard has assisted in multiple international events to include a trilateral engagement with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Djiboutian Navy for Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure teams and English language discussions with Djiboutian Navy Cadets.

Always looking to advance her civilian professional career, Abellard attained a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology in 2020.

“I am the first person in my immediate family to receive my bachelor’s degree, so you can imagine how stoked I was when I was accepted into my master’s program,” says Abellard.

While deployed as a full-time student, she celebrated attaining a master’s degree.

“I am a part of the first cohort to graduate with my Master of Science in Community Medicine with a focus on underrepresented and underserved communities. Without the scholarships and Montgomery G.I Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), I don’t think I would have been able to afford it,” says Abellard.

When asked what’s next, Abellard stated, “Medical school; I want to be a doctor and commission as a U.S. Naval Officer.