Harlingen sailor shares virtual reality experience with students

ROCKPORT — The Navy’s Virtual Reality Experience, the NIMITZ, joined by recruiters assigned to Navy Recruiting Station (NRS) Portland, paid a visit to Rockport-Fulton High School to spread Navy awareness and to pique students’ interest about America’s Navy.

After its activation during the Wings Over South Texas Air Show held aboard Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, April 13-14, the Nimitz was available to come to the school before transiting east to Victoria.

The experience started with registration, a mission briefing, donning on rumble packs and virtual reality headsets, and immersion into the mission.

The mission consisted of a virtual high-speed water extraction of a Navy SEAL team pinned down under enemy fire.

Once the students completed the mission, they were graded on how they responded to five separate mission commands.

“This was pretty cool,” said Jeffrey Dykes, a senior, who performed 20 pull-ups during the Pull-up Challenge. “I really enjoyed it, and I know my other classmates enjoyed it too.”

Lt. Cmdr. Luis Sanchez of Harlingen, the Senior Naval Science instructor assigned to the high school was appreciative of America’s Navy’s visit.

“This was a great opportunity for our kids to visit the VR Experience due to many did not get the chance to visit the NIMITZ while it was at the air show,” said Sanchez. “Hopefully, this piques their interest in joining the military, especially America’s Navy.”

The Navy is looking for smart, driven individuals who are eager to serve, and who are not only seeking a better future for themselves and their families, but also for the county.

According to Operations Specialist 1st Class Patricia Flock of San Jose, Calif., assigned to NRS Portland, bringing the Nimitz to Rockport was a great idea.

“We annually recruit approximately two to three students from the school,” said Flock. “Recruiting in Rockport is definitely a different environment than recruiting in a large city. I believe having the NIMITZ here will open up a lot of avenues for the students and faculty to get a glimpse of what the Navy does.”

The NIMITZ next activation will be at Victoria East High School on April 18.

Navy Recruiting District San Antonio’s area of responsibility includes more than 30 Navy Recruiting Stations and Navy Officer Recruiting Stations spread throughout 144,000 square miles of Central and South Texas territory.