Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Meet The Navy Reservist Going The Distance At NASCAR In Daytona
The skills that Navy Reserve Lt. Jesse E. Iwuji learned during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy and on active duty in became critical when he decided to pursue his true passion: becoming a professional NASCAR driver.
“When it comes to focus, teamwork, also just being able to make big decisions in high-stress environments, I think that’s where it really helps and comes to play,” Iwuji, a training officer at Naval Base Ventura County in California, told Task & Purpose. “When it comes to g-forces and aerodynamics and thermodynamics, you can actually apply a lot of [Naval Academy courses] to racing.”
Just like New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona, Iwuji has been allowed to reschedule his drill weekends so that he could race since he joined the Navy Reserve in June 2017. Most recently, he was able to postpone his drill weekend for February – which was later canceled due to the government shutdown – so that he could race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway and then Sunday at New Smyrna Speedway.
Navy Reserve Lt. Jesse E. Iwuji was recruited to play football for the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004.Photo courtesy of Jesse E. Iwuji.
For Iwuji, racing is the culmination of a lifelong dream. While he has always loved cars and racing, Iwuji growing up without the money to pursue his passion for the sport. Instead, the native Texan embraced football — the state’s unofficial religion — and was recruited to play at the Naval Academy in 2004. Once he graduated in 2010, he devoted his energies to his next passion of motor sports
“I started drag racing at different drag strips with my Dodge Challenger,” said Iwuji, who currently lives in Ventura, California. “I had bought a Corvette and from there I took the Corvette to different road-course tracks and ran that for a little bit and learned how to go fast around corners. That’s what led me to wanting to pursue a professional driving career. NASCAR was the first door that opened up for me to pursue that.”
He began racing in 2015 when he was sent to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he would work on weekdays, fly to the racetrack on Friday evenings, return on Sundays and be at work on Monday mornings. Since there is no formal training to become a NASCAR driver, Iwuji started out in lower level series of racing, but he quickly learned the finger points of race-craft.
Iwuji credits his commanders, both active-duty and reserve, for allowing him to take time when needed to race. “They were always really supportive of me just because they knew I was chasing my dream,” he said. “They knew what my end goal was and where I wanted to go.”
Although the Navy does not sponsor him, Iwuji said the publicity he gets from taking part in races benefits the service.
“Too many times, the only thing you hear about the military is suicides rates and veterans not being able to get this and that,” Iwuji said. “It seems like it’s a bunch of negative stuff, but this is actually something positive. It’s somebody who’s been in the military, who’s served, who’s been on deployments, who’s still in, and still going out and chasing their dreams.”
A major serving at U.S. Army Cyber Command has been charged with distributing child pornography, according to the Justice Department.
Maj. Jason Michael Musgrove, who is based at Fort Gordon, Georgia, has been remanded to the U.S. Marshals service, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia says.
Navy senior leaders could decide whether or not to approve the new I-Boot 5 early in 2020, said Rob Carroll, director of the uniform matters office at the Chief of Naval Personnel's office.
"The I-Boot 5 is currently wrapping up its actual wear test, its evaluation," Carroll told Task & Purpose on Monday. "We're hoping that within the first quarter of calendar year 2020 that we'll be able to present leadership with the information that they need to make an informed decision."
Oklahoma Congresspeople slam private housing contractor at Tinker Air Force Base for negligence, fraud
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn leveled harsh criticism last week at the contractor accused of negligence and fraudulent activity while operating private housing at Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations.
Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, referred to Balfour Beatty Communities as "notorious." Horn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told a company executive she was "incredibly disappointed you have failed to live up to your responsibility for taking care of the people that are living in these houses."
The Saudi national who killed three students on a U.S. Naval Air station in Pensacola was in the United States on a training exchange program.
On Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott said the United States should suspend that program, which brings foreign nationals to America for military training, pending a "full review."
Security measures at U.S. military bases will be increased in the wake of the deadly shootings at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.
In a message posted to Twitter, U.S. Northern Command, known as Northcom, said it has directed its installations to "immediately assess force protection measures and implement increased random security measures for their facilities."