Franklin native serves aboard U.S. Navy floating airport

Petty Officer Third Class Laci Eddelman, a native of Franklin, is one of more than 5,000 sailors serving aboard the self-contained mobile airport, USS Abraham Lincoln.

Equipped with a full flight deck and more than 60 aircraft including attack fighter jets and helicopters, aircraft carriers are one of the largest warships in the world.

Eddelman, a 2021 Martinsville High School graduate, joined the Navy one year ago.

“I joined the Navy because I wanted to serve my country and make an impact in the world,” said Eddelman. “I wanted to set a good example and be a good role model for my brother, Ricky, sisters, Charley and Kindre, to look up to. I wanted to push myself past my full potential, for things out of my comfort zone and set myself up for success while making my family proud. I needed something to challenge myself and the Navy fit the billet.”

Skills and values learned in the Navy are similar to those found in Franklin.

“I worked two jobs in my hometown prior to joining the Navy and I learned a lot from both,” said Eddelman. “I learned how to work and integrate with others, mitigate stressful situations and balance multiple assignments and tasking.”

Aircraft carriers are the centerpiece of America’s Naval forces. For more than 100 years, they have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.

According to Navy officials, aircraft carriers are versatile and have unique mission capabilities that make them a more strategic asset for the Navy than fixed-site bases. They are often the first response in a global crisis because of their ability to operate freely in international waters anywhere on the world’s ocean. In addition, no other weapon system can deploy and operate forward with a full-sized, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s speed, endurance, agility and the combat capability of its air wing.

“Sailors are truly the most valuable asset on USS Abraham Lincoln,” said Capt. Pete Riebe, commanding officer of USS Abraham Lincoln. “The crew has been working hard preparing the ship for deployment since I took command and I can’t wait to take the team to sea so that I can see these warfighters in action.”

With 90 percent of global commerce traveling by sea and access to the internet relying on the security of undersea fiber optic cables, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity of the United States is directly linked to trained sailors and a strong Navy.

As a member of the Navy, Eddelman is part of a world-class organization focused on maintaining maritime dominance, strengthening partnerships, increasing competitive warfighting capabilities and sustaining combat-ready forces in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“The Navy ensures freedom of navigation at sea as well as ensuring that we are properly trained and ready to defend our nation if there are any incidents that occur,” said Eddelman.

Eddelman has many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during military service.

“I’m most proud of what my department accomplished during planned incremental availability,” said Eddelman. “I learned how to coordinate with different departments and contracting trailers to get everything the department needed in order to remove corrosion and paint and restore nine platforms to mission readiness. I feel like I’ve proven to myself that I can take on more difficult things than I originally thought I could and I’ve shown my department I am someone who works well under pressure no matter what is thrown at me.”

As Eddelman and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the U.S. Navy.

“Serving in the Navy is like being a part of a big family,” said Eddelman. “We all came here from different backgrounds, different places around the world and we all joined for different reasons. However, we all have the same mission and core values, and we all chose to commit and sacrifice our lives for the country.”

Eddelman is grateful to others for helping make a Navy career possible.

“I would like to thank my mom and dad, Ashley and Rick, for supporting and encouraging me,” said Eddelman. “They helped me mentally, pushed me to join when I wanted to join but had reservations and they’ve helped me throughout my life.”