U.S. Naval Recruiter visits campus


Photo by Brianne Reformina

Darrell Degrazia, U.S. Naval Recruiter, talks to students about joining the Navy in Pauahilani, Dec. 6.

Born in San Diego, California, Mr. Darrell Degrazia had no idea he’d be recruiting young generations to join the United States Navy, and he never dreamed he’d end up in Pukalani visiting Kamehameha Schools Maui students.

Haumāna of Kamehameha Schools sat down with U.S. Naval Recruiter Darrell Degrazia Tuesday, Dec. 6, to discuss careers in the U.S. Navy.

“The Navy did everything for me, and I took advantage of that,” he said.

The earliest age to join the U.S. Navy is 17, which is when Degrazia discovered the opportunity to join and made it his goal to serve his country.

Of the many jobs the Navy has to offer, Degrazia chose recruiting, and he has attained the rank of chief in his years of serving.

The Navy work force is similar to any job opportunity. Degrazia said he goes to work in the morning, when he’s not traveling, finishes work and goes home to his family.

“You have to be able to overcome pressure and become a people person, but other than that, we still live the regular [working citizen] life,” he said.

Degrazia is in his 17th year of working as a U.S. Naval Recruiter, close to reaching his goal of 20 years of service.

Throughout his 17 years with the Navy, he has travelled to many places, such as Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Okinawa, Vietnam, and South Korea to name a few, and he has given back to these communities while visiting them, too.

“Once we land after traveling, we could either shop, go on tours or do community service,” Degrazia said.

He told about a time when an Australian high school rugby team offered to let him join in their practice, and he did. In Vietnam, he’s also read books to children.

“Doing community service helps me give back to the community as a way to thank the Navy for the opportunity they gave me,” he said.

Degrazia has been stationed in Hawaiʻi for nine years, serving all nine on Oʻahu, but he is also one of three or four Hawaiʻi Naval Recruiters who travel among the islands with the ships.

He keeps in touch with his family in San Diego and has started one of his own in his time in the military.

“My family’s with me, wherever I travel,” Degrazia said.

He plans to retire upon reaching his 20-year mark of serving the U.S. Navy and wants to continue to work for the federal government.

“It [the Navy] is pretty much your whole life,” he said.