A year ago, Andrew Lawson was preparing to receive his diploma as a member of the Linton-Stockton High School graduating class of 2005.
Today, the 19 year old is stationed with the U.S. Navy in San Diego, Calif., in a unit that services military helicopters.
He joined the Navy in August 2005 to go to college and become an F/A 18 Superhornet fighter pilot.
"Currently, I am stationed in San Diego, California, for my first tour of duty. My current job is an airman in the Line Division, which services the helicopters that I work on, and I also do daily inspections of the aircraft to assure that all components of the helicopter are safe for flight," Lawson said. "I also launch and recover helicopters. The helicopters that I work on are SH-60F Seahawks and HH-60H Seahawks. The difference between the two are the SH-60F's are used for anti-submarine warfare and to destroy enemy submarines but can also do search and rescue. The primary objective for the HH-60H helicopters are to do combat search and rescue missions behind enemy lines.
"Our overall mission is for right now combat search and rescue for downed pilots or medical evacuations. We conduct operations on an aircraft carrier to support the global war on terrorism."
Lawson said he doesn't have any actual combat experience because he stays on an aircraft carrier throughout his deployment. But his job is essential to the readiness and abilities of the warfighter.
Lawson, who was born in Brazil, is presently an airman apprentice (E-2). He said he enjoys being in the military and said in his future plans are to go to college back home and receive a bachelor's degree and then go to Naval Officer Candidate School to become a fighter pilot.
His parents -- mother Cheri Jerrell and step-father, John, live in Linton. His father, Brent Sowers, is from Clay City.
The oldest of seven brothers and sisters said he misses things back home in Greene County, but relishes the fact that he is serving his country.
"What I really miss about Greene County is hanging out with all my friends back home and spending time with my family. I should be home in August for leave," he added.