A Sherman native returned home for a brief visit Wednesday to spread information about careers in the armed forces. U.S. Navy Captain Jason Rimmer visited with students, community leaders and school mentors this week as a part of navy outreach efforts.
Rimmer, who graduated from naval academy in 1995, currently serves as the commanding officer of the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault vessel based out of Norfolk, Virginia. The visit represents an effort by the navy to reach out to areas that do not traditionally have a strong naval presence.
“It is an opportunity for senior leaders in the Navy to come back to certain markets and hometowns to make sure they are aware of what the navy is doing for them and have an opportunity to talk to mentors, leaders, teachers and coaches,” he said.
Rimmer graduated from Sherman High School in 1991 and went into the navy soon after. In the time since, Rimmer said he has only been back to Sherman about three times, and he still has friends in the area.
Rimmer’s family has a strong tradition of military and armed forces involvement, including his father and grandfather who were both in the Navy, so it was natural that he would start his career there. However, he didn’t expect to spend more than a quarter century in the armed forces.
“I grew up thinking that everyone spent at least some time in the military,” he said.
Rimmer started his career by learning to fly multiple types of aircraft, before focusing primarily on flying helicopters, specifically the Seahawk. His service as a naval pilot included two tours of duty and a third as a squadron commander.
As he grew older, Rimmer said he knew it was time to retire from flight and move on to other duties. This led to service as the navigator for the USS Abraham Lincoln and eventually into ship command. Rimmer has served as the commander for the USS Kearsarge for about the past year.
“If you stay in the Navy long enough, everything leads back to the ship,” he said.
During this time, Rimmer said the ship served about five months of duty in the Persian Gulf. It was on return from duty that he was given the opportunity to visit the Dallas area. Rimmer asked if he could also visit Sherman as a part of the trip and was given permission.
Despite Texas making up about 10 percent of the Navy, Rimmer said the branch of the armed forces doesn’t have a strong presence in Texoma. As a part of the trip, Rimmer met with local students to discuss the opportunities. More than half the service men and women on his ship are young, with most below the age of 26, he said.
“It is really about how you come across to not only young people, but also young workers,” he said.