Cameron Native Serves in Award-Winning Navy Riverine Squadron
NORFOLK – A 2008 Cameron High School graduate and Cameron, Missouri native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 2.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Lewis Switlik is a hull technician with the squadron operating out of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
A Navy hull technician is responsible for the repair, service surface crafts to ensure unit readiness.
"I think the best part of my job is it is constantly changing to adapt to different situations,” said Switlik.
Switlik credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in his hometown of Cameron.
“Working hard on the farm has instilled in me a work ethic,” said Switlik. "It's a moral base and a respect factor of where I came from."
The men and women of the U.S. Navy’s Coastal Riverine Force provide port and harbor security, high value asset protection and maritime security operations in coastal and inland waterways.
“Serving with this command is an opportunity for my professional development,” said Switlik. “I get to drive boats, and I am able to work outside my rate.”
For two years in a row CRS-2 has won the Navy’s coveted "Battle E" Award, an award that not only recognizes excellence in sustained superior performance in an operational environment, but for being the best squadron in the Coastal Riverine Force. Eligibility for this award demands day-to-day demonstrated excellence in addition to superior achievement during certifications and qualifications conducted throughout the competitive period.
In addition to this achievement, they also won the 2017 Chief of Naval Operations Off Duty Safety Award, a first for any unit under the charge of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
"This squadron's success is due to the dedication and caliber of its sailors at all levels,” said Cmdr. Joe Droll, commanding officer of CRS-2. “The demands placed on them are high, and they often make sacrifices to meet the mission, whether its training boat crews, security teams, maintainers or operation center watch standers. Through all the challenges they find a way to get the job done.”
Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Switlik is most proud of earning an expeditionary warfare pin.
“Earning your pin requires studying the history of the expeditionary community and demonstrating the practical knowledge to do your job,” said Switlik.
While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Switlik has found reward in service.
“The Navy taught me to never quit,” said Switlik. “Put your shoulder into it and never give up.”