Local Serves In War Against Terrorism
By Howard Schwach
In October of 1983, Rockaway resident Hari Singh was looking for two things: an education and a little adventure.
He wasn’t sure that he would find those things in Rockaway, so he went to the armed forces recruiting office in the shopping center on Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway and sampled the offerings of each of the service recruiters. Then, he chose the U.S. Navy.
Today, the Rockaway resident is Master Chief Hari Singh, serving on the Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) somewhere in the North Arabian Sea, supporting our troops on the ground in Afghanistan as part of America’s Operation Enduring Freedom.
And, he is glad to be there.
"We are fighting a war," Singh told The Wave by phone and e-mail from his office on the Stennis. "I want to say to the people in Rockaway that I am proud to be serving my country in this arena."
"This war against terrorism is going strong and we do it especially for the New Yorker’s, who still feel the pain of September 11," he adds. "I am honored to be part of the forces that are giving life back to the Afghani’s after the Taliban regime."
As a master chief, Singh supervises 426 sailors and marines from six commands in performing repairs to all of the aircraft and support equipment about the carrier. He is not only responsible for keeping the carrier’s planes flying 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but he is responsible for the welfare of those under him and for training and retaining them as well.
Singh is the son of Joyce and Sahaedo Singh, who still live on Beach 19 Street in Edgemere. He says that he thinks of Rockaway often and fondly during his cruises.
"I really miss the stores on Mott Avenue," he says. "I miss the beaches in the summer – particularly the beaches."
Singh is married to the former Pamela Persaud of Rosedale. The couple have a son and a daughter. His three sisters and two brothers all live in Rockaway.
The Stennis departed its homeport of San Diego, California on November 12, the same day that American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into Rockaway.
The carrier is one of two in the area flying round-the-clock support for American troops on the ground. The ship will most likely be deployed in the Arabian Sea until the summer.
Then Singh plans to come home to Rockaway.
"After deployment, I plan to come to Rockaway to visit my friends and relatives," he says. "And for a little much deserved rest and recreation on the beach."