Kalida native heads for Japan in U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron

KALIDA — A Kalida native has taken flight from Putnam County with the armed forces and now serves overseas half a world away.

Braden Decker graduated from Kalida High School in 2018 and decided to join the men and women who watch over the country. According to a recent press release, Decker joined the Navy just two years ago. Now, Decker was recognized for serving in the U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron.

“I joined the Navy to tour the world and expand my horizons on various cultures, while fighting for our freedom,” said Decker in a recent press release. Decker serves as a Naval Aircrewman with the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12.

According to the Navy’s website, a naval aircrewman has the duty of operating helicopters. An aircrewman also has the duty of handling weapons and assisting rescuers, according to the website.

Decker also said he learned many of the values he applies to his work in the Navy while growing up in Kalida.

“I learned growing up that it doesn’t matter what happens at work or outside of work, it is the people that you surround yourself with that makes your place a home,” said Decker in a recent press release. “The Navy supports national defense by being anywhere we need to stop the fight before it can reach our shores.”

U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Samuel Paparo commented in the press release as well.

“As the largest force in our nation’s front line against revisionist actors, U.S. Pacific Fleet meets this great responsibility with strength, resolve and confidence,” said Paparo in the release. “Together with our joint and combined partner operations, we are positioned to defend – across all domains – any attempts to threaten our nation, our allies and partner’s security, freedom and well-being.”

Decker in the release said joining the navy was his proudest accomplishment.

“Serving in the Navy has introduced me to my closest friends and gave me the opportunity to serve with some of the finest people in the world,” said Decker.

“I’d like to thank Trish Ham who was my special warfare trainer prior to affiliating with the Navy.”

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.