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East Meadow alumnus becomes a leader on ‘floating airport’

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Since he graduated from East Meadow High School in 1984, Andrew Frederick has made a career in the U.S. Navy, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Frederick has spent 18 of his 24 years in the service at sea, over the course of 15 deployments. He has steadily climbed the ranks, and became a command master chief in September 2017. Now, as part of the ship’s leadership triad — along with the commanding and executive officers — he is responsible for all 3,600 sailors on board.

“I love my job,” Frederick said. “I think it’s the greatest. I’m truly blessed and honored to be sitting where I am today. There are only 11 of us that have this job on carriers. We have a really good group of sailors as well.”

But Frederick’s voyage at sea wouldn’t have happened without the personal one that eventually led him to the Navy. After graduating from East Meadow High, he moved on to the University of Maryland, but had no career aspirations, he said, and never graduated. Instead he moved to Miami Beach, where he tended bar for four years. He recalled “wasting my life” by treating that time like an ongoing party. He wasn’t saving money or learning a real profession, and saw himself heading down “a path I shouldn’t have been on.”

He thought of joining the Navy twice before committing to the decision. “You reach a point in your life . . . when you get to a crossroads and you’ve got to figure out what you want to do,” he said. “And that’s where I was. I had some friends, some really good people who wouldn’t let me say no this time.”

These days, Frederick is stationed in San Diego, the principal home port of the Pacific Fleet. He and his fellow sailors are scheduled to deploy to a location yet to be determined in early 2020, and, in the meantime, they are in what is called a “work-up cycle,” during which they assist with military readiness and prepare for the deployment.

Frederick has earned a Meritorious Service Medal for his work. When he joined the Navy, he said, he wanted to take the “hard jobs” that other sailors may not have wanted. “You work hard, you do your job, you keep your mouth shut, you get qualifications that you’re supposed to have,” he said. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that’s what got me where I am today.”

The Theodore Roosevelt is 1,100 feet long, weighs more than 100,000 tons, has a flight deck that is 252 feet wide and is described as a “floating airport” that can carry more than 70 attack jets, helicopters and other aircraft, all of which take off from and land aboard the carrier at sea. Commissioned in 1986, it has a 50-year service life, which is typical of Navy carriers.

“Naval aviation is the ultimate team sport, and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier cannot accomplish her mission without the professionalism and expertise of every sailor aboard,” said Carlos Sardiello, Frederick’s commanding officer on the ship. “The crew of Theodore Roosevelt has proven themselves time and time again, and their level of professionalism and dedication is second to none.”