Featured Veteran: Kevin Mecozzi

Happy New Year, everyone! Our first featured veteran of 2016 is a U.S. Navy submarine veteran. Kevin Mecozzi has been active duty since 2008, and followed his father’s, Steven Mecozzi, footsteps in joining the U.S. Navy. He had basic training in Illinois, and subsequently was stationed in South Carolina. When he arrived in South Carolina that April, no one told him he could take off his Navy issued coat, fleece linings, gloves, and scarves, so he along with some other fellow new sailors were warmly welcomed to the state until they were assigned their rooms on base. This was his first memory of arriving to South Carolina.

The Citadel in Charleston, SC, Veterans Portrait Project

Two weeks before he was to be stationed in Connecticut, he met his now wife, Des’ola Mecozzi (who is part of the Veterans Portrait Project team), in South Carolina.

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USS Missouri SSN 780 in dry dock with the crew. Made in 2011.

In the submarine capital of the world, Mecozzi was aboard the USS Missouri SSN 780 which was commissioned July 31, 2010. Being gone on multiple underways, he also served two deployments on the fast-attack Virginia class submarine. Mecozzi earned his dolphins in 2010, and was the Junior Sailor of the Year in 2012. In 2014, he was ranked the #1 LELT on the waterfront by his squadron, Devron 12, of the New London Submarine Base. He was the last plank owner to leave the boat.

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Kevin Mecozzi and his wife, Des’ola Mecozzi, at the USS Missouri SSN 780 homecoming in Groton, Connecticut, after a scheduled 6-month deployment on December 20, 2013. Photograph made by Frances Mileski.

When joining the U.S. Navy, Mecozzi never thought he’d be a part of the silent service. Now, he is in a tightly knit brotherhood which will last a lifetime.

The Citadel in Charleston, SC, Veterans Portrait Project

“In each submarine there are men who, in the hour of emergency or peril at sea, can turn to each other. These men are ultimately responsible to themselves and each other for all aspects of operation of their submarine. They are the crew. They are the ship.” -The Submariner’s Creed (Excerpt)

© Veteran portraits by Stacy L. Pearsall, story by Des’ola Mecozzi

 

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