Born and raised in Dunn, North Carolina, Michael Ivey comes from a long line of farmers. He grew up on a sweet potato farm in a small town where no one was ever encouraged to live a life out of the ordinary. Joining the military was never a thought that crossed his family’s mind. In fact, the last person from the Ivey family to enlist was a distant relative who fought in the War of 1812.
As a “morbidly obese and shy” teenager, Michael spent most of his days dreaming of an escape from the rural life he was living. All he knew was going out with friends and doing “stupid stuff” around town, without any clear direction in life. Spending his days in Dunn, North Carolina wasn’t going to cut it for much longer.
At age 19, Michael read a line that would change his life forever, “If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?”. Ready to leave Dunn and start a new adventure, Michael met with a Navy recruiter and made the decision to enlist as an Equipment Operator (Seabee) in the Navy. Ten days later he was off the farm and entering a new phase of his life.
Stationed in California, 20-year-old Michael Ivey found himself sitting in his Dodge pickup truck getting ready to deploy to Iraq for the first time. These life-changing experiences transformed Michael Ivey into an adult with “real” responsibilities. To those that know Michael as the sweet potato farmer, it might appear he leads a simple life. But if we are the sum of all our experiences, Michael Ivey’s life is anything but simple; it’s extraordinary. He is a role model for those who are searching for meaning in their lives.
As an Equipment Operator in the Navy you will be a part of the Navy Construction Battalion that is, the Seabees. Seabees work on a diverse set of tasks such as grading at a critical airstrip location, conducting soil tests for an amphibious landing zone, or building the framework of a new barracks facility. As a member of the Seabees, you’ll build a variety of structures in just about every environment imaginable. You may work at Navy bases or various locations around the world, and you may be deployed to help rebuild areas affected by natural disasters. If you like hands-on work environments and working closely in a team, a career with the Seabees might be the best path for you.
The Quiet Professional
Silence is a weapon. And no one wields it better than SWCC Boat Operator Nick O’Sullivan. Meet one of the Navy’s best kept secrets now.
When Ana Monterrosa became a single mother at 18, everyone told her to stop chasing her dreams, but Ana knew she was capable of more.
Engineman Desirae Martinez rolled up her sleeves to become one of the Navy’s first female Mark VI Patrol Boat coxswains.
After a traumatic accident, Hospital Corpsman Dominique Velazquez made a miraculous recovery and joined the Navy to pay it forward.
Digging for purpose didn’t happen in her own backyard—it took her all the way to Bahrain.
The Seventh Sailor
Home's hard to leave. This Sailor watched 6 siblings join the Navy before it was his turn.
Sometimes, it takes four legs to remind you how important your purpose is in the world.
For one homeless teen, a Navy education offered a chance to make the world a better place.
Justin Alvarado found his way as he journeyed to Spain in search of a new path in the Navy.
A life of relocation and instability set him up to fail, but the Navy ensured his success.
A life preserver. Sailor saves people from perils at sea and feeds the hungry on days off.
As a Navy Reserve Sailor in America's Navy, he’s also chasing his dreams to become a NASCAR driver.
She juggles multiple roles with pride and proves you can accomplish anything in the Navy.
In remaining an individual, she exemplifies the strength in staying true to yourself.