Hometown heroes: For Moulas, service 'is a sense of pride'
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 11, 2012 1:50 AM
Denise Moulas was used to seeing fighter jets come in for landing.
She had lived just outside the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base gates for more than 20 years.
But there is something special, she said, about watching military aircraft approach the deck of the USS George Washington -- a perspective she never dreamed she would gain.
"To watch them land in the dark is just awesome," she said.
The Navy petty officer has been at sea since the end of August -- ensuring that the equipment that makes the launch and recovery of those aircraft possible is functional.
And even though the "small spaces" and 12-hour shifts took some getting use to, the experiences she has had aboard that vessel are ones she says she wouldn't trade for anything.
"It's an amazing feeling," Denise said. "One you'll never forget."
Her father, Michael, was an airman, but Denise never had her eye on a career in the military.
In fact, she went to Campbell University on an athletic scholarship -- not even thinking about a future in uniform until she was sidelined with an injury.
She came back home and "it just sort of happened."
"I said, 'You know what? I'm gonna do it,'" she said.
And ever since she swore to defend her nation, she has made "tons of memories" that, to her, are priceless.
"I can't wait for many more," she said. "I've had some fun times and met amazing people that I'll never forget, seen places that I never thought I'd see."
Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, the USS George Washington and its crew are answering their nation's call.
They won't be stateside for Veterans Day.
But Denise doesn't need a holiday to feel appreciated.
The support of family and friends across the world -- and right here in Goldsboro -- motivate her to be the best sailor she can be.
"To friends and family, I'm doing well and I'll be home soon," she said.
And the duties she performs -- and uniform she dons -- are, in a way, thanks enough for her sacrifice.
"It's a sense of pride," Denise said. "One you carry with you wherever you go."