Taking Care Of Family
by U.S. Navy Recruiting Command
December 10, 2020
The first time Engineman 1st Class Eden Avelino walked into a recruiting station, she was in the Philippines, trying to join their version of the Recruit Officer Training Corps. She was told that she did not meet the height or weight requirements necessary to join the Navy and was sent home.
The next time Avelino walked into a recruiting station, she was living with family in Lompoc, California. She had gained 10 pounds and was ready to start her future. Although there were additional hurdles, Avelino knew the Navy was her destiny.
U.S. Navy EN1 Eden Avelino sits with her son before taking the ice to participate in an oath of enlistment ceremony at a Boise Steelheads game on March 7, 2020 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. (U.S. Navy photo by Daniel Rachal, Navy Talent Acquisition Group)
When Avelino first arrived in the United States she began working at the exchange at Vandenberg Air Force Base. However, Avelino’s call to serve was deeper than this supporting role could offer. But there were still some roadblocks. While initially it was her weight, ultimately the problem was she wasn’t very good in the water.
“When I joined, I didn’t know how to swim,” said Avelino. “The recruiters said, ‘there’s a kiddie pool.’ I got pushed back two weeks and before I went to boot camp, there were a lot of people telling me you’re not going to make it. Even though I didn’t know how to swim I pushed myself to prove them wrong.”
She has kept pushing and making the most of every opportunity the Navy has offered. Unfortunately, using the bachelor’s degree she earned in the Philippines to become an IT was not an option due to her citizenship status. But when she was offered Engineman and a chance to leave quickly for boot camp, she jumped.
She joined her first ship, USS San Diego (LPD 22), while they were on deployment. As soon as they returned home, they were scheduled for a two-year yard period. Instead of sitting idle, Avelino volunteered to join USS Rushmore (LSD 47) for their deployment in order to continue to gain experience and earn necessary qualifications.
“If I didn’t go, I probably wouldn’t have got my (surface warfare) pin,” said Avelino.
After spending her Navy career in San Diego and being deployed on three different ships, the last place Avelino imagined she would end up was Boise, Idaho, as a Navy recruiter. Now, she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“I thought that I would be in Portland and I didn’t know I’d be stationed in Boise,” said Avelino. “But I think that’s the best thing they did for me. I love this place; the people are so kind and they’re humble, especially my team here. They’re so great. I love the atmosphere here, the outdoor stuff; I’m considering this as a choice of retirement because it’s really nice here.”
Boise is where her first child, Robin Charles, was born. As a new mom, Avelino sees parallels between caring for her newborn son and the future Sailors as an on-boarder for Navy Recruiting Station Nampa, Idaho.
“You are there for them and know their concerns,” said Avelino. “So same thing with my son, I have to make sure I provide whatever he needs. When they need support, like a mom, I should be there.”
Avelino treats the current group of 22 future sailors in her care like a big family, which is not surprising since she comes from a large family herself. She credits the Navy for being able to help her family, all 15 members, who are back in the Philippines.
“I love the Navy, it helps me a lot,” said Avelino. “I am able to give allowances to my brothers and sisters back in the Philippines. If I was working as a civilian, I wouldn’t be able to afford that.”
After recruiting ends and she returns to sea, Avelino has much more to accomplish in the Navy before retiring back to Idaho. Mainly, she wants to be stationed close to her husband’s family in Bremerton, Washington and to earn her Engineer of the Watch qualification.
Avelino is also looking forward to being underway and forward deployed. Her travels have taken her to Thailand, Vietnam, Guam and across Asia but she has yet to pull into the Philippines. When asked if she would be excited for that port call and seeing the family who lives three hours away from Subic Bay, her eyes light up and she flashes a huge smile.
“It would be nice to see them all,” said Avelino. “They would all be there.”
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 26 NTAGs and 64 Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOCs) that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world. Their mission is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.
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