WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – We didn’t have to go far for this week’s Veterans Voices, because he is a member of the 7News.
Shawn Maguire is an Account Executive here at WTRF, but years before that he spent three years in the U.S. Navy.
That took him literally across the world to Japan, a place he still considers to be his home.
“When the Navy says join us, come see the world, they mean it,” Maguire said. “You’re gonna see the world.”
From Japan to Thailand, Korea, the Middle East and much more, Maguire has seen the world.
While he calls Wheeling home now, Maguire is originally from Southern California, which was part of the reason he chose the Navy.
“I didn’t want to be away from the ocean,” he explained. I loved it so much. I loved being in it and I thought the Navy was perfect.”
Maguire was stationed in Yokosuka Japan on the U.S.S. Independence from 1994 to 1997.
“I was ship’s company,” he continued. “That means I stayed with the ship. I lived on the ship. That was my home.”
On the aircraft carrier, he was part of the flight deck division.
“I loved aircraft. When they said air department I said yeah I definitely want to mess with airplanes somehow or jets somehow,” Maguire explained as to why he chose that particular specialty. “I want that in my life. I was literally in one of the most dangerous jobs in the Navy.”
With more than 5,000 people on board, the U.S.S. Independence was a floating city, and everyone had a job.
If it dealt with the movement of an aircraft, it was Maguire’s division’s responsibility.
“They’re shoved off basically by the nose and let off really hard by a giant steam piston,” he said of launching the planes. “It’s so hot that sometimes oil gets in there and we’ll have a little oil fire, that’s how hot it is. Once it’s sent off then it’s up to the pilot to steer it of course.”
After three years of service, Maguire didn’t leave Japan. Instead, he stayed attached to a military base as a substitute teacher and wrestling coach.
“I never had a day that I was like ‘oh my gosh I’m intimidated by this land.’ No, I embraced it. I loved it,” Maguire remembers. “Loved the food. I loved the culture. Loved the people. By the time I came home, a total of 10 years, I had already lived there a third of my life. It was my home. I still consider it home.”